Sui guides a new generation through '60s styles

SAMANTHA CRITCHELL AP Fashion Writer Published:

NEW YORK (AP) -- Anna Sui did a lot of homework for her new fall collection.

She read up on furniture designer Charles Eames and on Truman Capote's iconic Black and White Ball, researched the wardrobe of Elizabeth Taylor, visited the home of the late sculptor and illustrator Walter Einsel and got to join the ladies who lunch at Manhattan's tony La Grenouille.

Sui's clothes, presented Wednesday at New York Fashion Week, were true to her passion for the 1960s, but they were a little more refined than some of her bouncier, more mod collections. These faux fur coats, chiffon dresses and even a few caftans were youthful but not young.

Still, they were fun, and models had a bounce in their step and smiled as they struck cheeky poses for photographers. They wore mostly green-and-blue combinations of shirt- or dropped-waist dresses with chunky-knit cardigans or blanket-style coats on top, but the first outfit was a faux shearling cape treated to look like denim. Another model wore an embroidered velvet cape. There was a varsity jacket, too, and a librarian-book print mixed in with floral-print metallics.

The hot-pink, printed-velvet caftan with pink ruffles from a georgette shirt oozing out the neckline and cuffs looked like it could have come straight from a Taylor time capsule.

"There's something about the '60s. I love the color palette, and so much of the '60s was inspired by folk art but also the Victorian period, and I love that," Sui said in an interview.

Sui seems to enjoy introducing a new generation to the looks of the past with an infusion of humor to keep it all lighthearted. It's when she is at her best.

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