Anna Sui Fall 1998 Ready-to-Wear

Donovan Leitch and model Kirsty Hume. | Photo: Image Scotland / Alamy Stock Photo

Kirsty Hume and Donovan Leitch met backstage at one of my shows, so that’s a fairy tale in itself. I went to their wedding, in 1997, and it was very Art Nouveau and Scottish Arts and Crafts, so that was part of the inspiration [for the show as well.]

There was a whole series of the fairy-tale princesses. I just loved the frosted velvet that we made all those dresses out of. It was a stretch velvet in these frosted colors and then we trimmed everything with faux fur. There was a lot of [it] throughout the collection. The show opened with those black and ginger folkloric dresses trimmed with faux fur fringes. And then we did inside out faux fur, like there’s that jacket that Amber Valletta’s wearing, which we trimmed like Lapland clothes. A piece of trivia: Liv Tyler bought the coat that Michele Hicks wore during the show, for her father, Steven Tyler. And Vincent Gallo got the jacket worn by Valletta.

One day, I read an article about Shakespeare and how in his time they would portray horses on stage. [They used] a pantomime horse that the actor would wear with suspenders over his shoulders. So I showed James [Coviello] the sketch of that, and I said, ‘Let’s make it out of all the materials that we’re using for this collection.’ [The result] was extraordinary—really, really extraordinary—and I remember all my nieces and nephews were little then and that was their favorite character in the whole show. The model’s name was Aki, and when he came on stage, they jumped up and screamed ‘Aki! Aki! Aki!’ and it was just so cute because he was really special for them.

I think [what happened on Instagram this week] is a generational thing; like my generation was obsessed with the ’60s and ’70s and the next generation was obsessed with the ’80s. Maybe it’s the time and that they didn’t get to experience it.

When I think about it now, it seems like the whole fashion world was much more intimate; we all knew each other. It wasn’t like a cast of like 10,000 because [the industry] wasn’t so global yet. And everything was more real; the front rows weren’t influencers that are paid to wear the clothes, it was friends of friends or so-and-so was dating so-and-so who happened to be a movie star so he was sitting in the front row and then he brings his buddy. Or I went to a concert and I asked the band [members] if they wanted to come to the show, or you would run into somebody on the street, like Jim Jarmusch, and say, ‘Do you want to come to the show?’ It was just much more organic, it wasn’t fabricated, and it wasn’t so corporate-everything, it was much more casual.”

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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