A trio of velveteen princesses close Anna Sui’s resort 2023 lookbook. One dress you’ll know—emerald-teal with antique ribbon trim and tufts of faux fur—because it originally appeared in Sui’s fall 1998 collection and became something of an internet sensation earlier this year. The others are extensions of the theme, jewel-toned precious frocks for a modern royal.
Sui is a master of remastering the past—you could say her entire brand is built on that concept. But what she’s been doing lately is reimagining her own past for a new generation of customers who missed her noughties heyday. Ssense has already reissued a capsule of some pieces that, in addition to being spotted on cool girls in Lower Manhattan and Silverlake, are being worn by the likes of Dua Lipa and Olivia Rodrigo.
This season the pop stars and their fans will surely covet a lilac marabou-trimmed jacket, the fabric first used in Sui’s spring 1997 collection, or new interpretations of grunge style like a lace-inset black slip dress, black crochet pants, and illustrated baby tees. Heart printed tea dresses and separates continue the sweet streak; even at her punkiest Sui never gives up on girlishness. But pick apart the layered looks, and you’ll find sexy peignoirs and velvet swimsuits that evoke screen sirens’ boudoir attire. “You just need a velvet bathing suit, don’t you?” Sui says with a laugh at her lookbook shoot as models with lilac eyeliner—the only color Sui’s mother would let her wear as a teen—recreated “cheesy” ‘60s model group poses. That’s the Sui trick: it’s always about making the dream real, funciontalizing the fantasy. This season the reality is special, sensual, and sporty. Modern girls are in luck.