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Eye On Design: Anna Sui, Cheerleader Ensemble

Cheerleader Ensemble By Anna Sui Photo by Gail Worley
All Photos By Gail

“When I think about pinafores and jumpers and compromised purity, it’s actually quite punk. Go further back and it’s all about mod and Twiggy and dolly birds and thousands of school girls like me pouring over magazines, reading articles from the front lines of pop culture.”

Throughout her career, Anna Sui has summoned the youthful spirit of the school girl but was an edge, embracing the complexity of teen-hood. For the fall 1994 Schoolgirl collection, Sui focused on Yves Saint Laurent‘s most iconic designs, which she reinterpreted in high-tech sportswear materials.fall 1994 Schoolgirl collection, Sui focused on Yves Saint Laurent‘s most iconic designs, which she reinterpreted in high-tech sportswear materials.

Cheerleader Ensemble By Anna Sui Photo By Gail Worley

Saint Laurent was also a superb colorist, as reflected in the collection’s use of bold colors. The sportswear sensibility extended to a series of outfits inspired by cheerleader uniforms, many of which Sui accessorized with pom-pom hats by James Coviello.

Anna Sui Cheerleader Jacket Photo By Gail Worley

Jacket Front and Back Detail

Cheerleader Jacket Back Detail By Gail Worley

Schoolgorl Collection By Anna Sui Photo by Gail Worley

Schoolgirl Collection Installation View: Cheerleader Ensemble (far right)  worn with plastic/wool pom-pom hat by James Coviello for Anna Sui; Plastic belt, two necklaces, and bracelets by Erickson Beamon for Anna Sui; fishnet nylon hose and acetate/satin-covered domestic cowhide short boots by Emma Hope for Anna Sui.

Photographed in the Museum of Arts and Design in Manhattan.

Eye on Design: Lilac Headband by Adolfo

Lilac Headband by Adolfo Photo By Gail Worley
Photos By Gail

This Lilac Headband (1960s) by Adolfo (Adolfo Sardina) recalls historical styles of the mid-nineteenth century, conjuring Franz Xaver Winterhalter’s portrait The Empress Eugenie Surrounded by her Ladies-in-Waiting (1855). At the same time, the clouds of lilac blooms and traditionally feminine bow at the center of this headband also speak to contemporaneous ideas and aesthetics, channeling the flower power movement of the late 1960s, and early 1970s, and skillfully striking a balance between moments of meticulous coordination and carefree, romantic hippie styles of dress.

Lilac Headband Installation View By Gail Worley

Photographed as part of the exhibit In Pursuit of Fashion: The Sandy Schreier Collection, on view through May 17th, 2020 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.

Eye On Design: Lipstick Bracelet and Brooch By Karl Lagerfeld

Lipstick Pin and Bracelet By Karl Lagerfeld Photo By Gail Worley
All Photos By Gail

This matching Bracelet and Brooch are composed of a vibrant rainbow of resin Lipsticks that humorously assert the decorative nature of cosmetic products.  While both by Karl Lagerfeld and the jewelry designer Ugo Correani were known for their postmodern sampling of objects and ideas, the tendency to inflate scale in order to invest drama was a particular strength of Correani.

Lipstick Bracelet By Karl Lagerfeld Phot By Gail Worley

In the words of Lagerfeld, “He has a magic touch. No one can compare to him . . . He’s modern, not afraid to be oversized, but with the right eye for proportion.”

Lipstick Pin By Karl Lagerfeld By Gail Worley

Photographed as part of the exhibit In Pursuit of Fashion: The Sandy Schreier Collection, on view through May 17th, 2020 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.

Eye On Design: Anna Sui Grunge Kilt Ensemble

Anna Sui Grunge Kilt Photo By Gail Worley
All Photos By Gail

“I think that, with hindsight, this may have been a moment in my career where my own past and present truly came together, more so that with other collections, which, however much I cherished them, were a carefully stitched-together tapestry of obsessively researched elements. My Grunge collection was more ‘felt’ than it was thought.”

The 1993 Grunge collection secured Anna Sui’s place in the history of fashion. She saw Seattle’s grunge music scene as the major force in the youth culture of that period, and used the layering and mixing typical of its style to great effect, riffing on the youthful sincerity of the movement to produce some of the most influential looks of the nineties.

Anna Sui Grunge Kilt Detail by Gail Worley
Anna Sui Grunge Kilt Ensemble, Detail: Polyester and Cotton Tank and Leggings with Totton Kilt and Shorts

Grunge style sprang out of a Seattle subculture in which a new wave of musicians, including Nirvana fronted by Kurt Cobain, sported a “thrift store” style of dressing that seemed to mirror their novel sound. This “un-fashion” style chimed with the decade’s rejection of the excesses of the 1980s and quickly went from subculture to mass culture. Marc Jacobs, working for Perry Ellis at the time, glamorized this style to create a grunge collect for Sping 1993. Sui’s references to grunge in her own collection, in contrast, are colored with optimism and a “hippie” sensibility. The outfit seen here features a kilt, widely associated with grunge, as well as a flower belt more reminiscent of the sixties or seventies

Anna Sui Grunge Kilt Detail 2 By Gail Worley
Lunchbox by Designs from the Deep, Cowhide/Rubber Boots by John Fluevog for Anna Sui

Anna Sui Grunge Kilt Photo By Gail Worley
Anna Sui Grunge Kilt Ensemble (Spring 1993) Photographed in the Museum of Arts and Design

Eye On Design: Anna Sui, Dorothy Draper Pirate Ensemble

Anna Sui Dorothy Draper Pirate Ensemble By Gail Worley
All Photos By Gail

The importance of storytelling is clear in Anna Sui’s collections, which conjure an imaginary world of Icelandic princesses, pirates, fairies, Vikings and enchanted animals. Complementing these historical and fantastical figures, her runway shows have featured whimsical, surreal accessories from animal hats to gingerbread handbags.

This dress was inspired by Napoleon Bonaparte and the introduction of the Empire style to France in the early nineteenth century.

Anna Sui Dorothy Draper Pirate Ensemble by Gail Worley

Sui gave the gown a punk makeover by cutting it off mid-thigh. She created a series of these dresses in silk chiffon and crepe de Chine printed with hearts, roses, stripes and polka dots. Worn with petticoats and produced in a combination of red, white, and black, they recalled the designs of interior decorator Dorothy Draper, who was known for her dramatic deployment of black and white, as well as the punk clothes worn by members of the New York Dolls. Sui recalls, “Back in the 1970s, if you were part of the rock scene or if you went to clubs like Max’s or CBGB, you only wore red, white or black. Everything was heavily codified.” The French Empire, too, was governed by rigid codes, and this provided the link for Sui’s collection. The Dorothy Draper Pirate ensemble is from Sui’s spring 2007 collection.

Photographed in the Museum of Arts and Design in NYC.

Eye On Design: Lobster Hat By Bes Ben

Lobster Hat Bes Ben By Gail Worley
Photo By Gail

Endearingly known as Chicago’s Mad Hatter, Benjamin Green-Field established the Bes-Ben label with with his sister, Bessie Friedlander in 1919. Green-Field’s designs were equal parts fantasy and practicality; their chic, relativity compact forms were designed to work in concert with the costly coiffures of the period. The year 1941 is regarded as a turning point in his career; the material restrictions that were imposed during World War II roused new levels of creativity in his work and introduced what would become a lasting devotion to crafting whimsical conversational pieces like this Lobster Hat circa 1946.

Lobster Hat Close Up By Gail Worley
Detail

Photographed as part of the exhibit In Pursuit of Fashion: The Sandy Schreier Collection, on view through May 17th, 2020 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.

Shark Attack Baby Booties!

shark attack baby slippers by gail worley
All Photos By Gail

The NY Now winter retail market and gift show is behind us, and I came home with a ton of photos of cool stuff to share with you here on The ‘Gig; including several excellent additions to our beloved Shark Attack series (one of which you saw right here just last week)!

These adorable felted booties are sold by The Silk Road Bazaar, a fair trade wholesale representative of marginalized artist groups located in Central Asia. These fiercely cute booties are part of their Zooties series of baby booties designed in the likeness of animals. Watch out for your little toes!

shark attack baby slippers by gail worley

Shark Attack On Your Tiny, Baby Feet!

Eye On Design: Pink and Black Sequined Mini Dress By Stephen Sprouse

Sequined Mini Dress By Stephen Sprouse Photo By Gail Worley
Photos By Gail

This Pink and Black Sequined Mini Dress (autumn / winter 1983 84) is characteristic of paradoxical charm of the work of Stephen Sprouse (19532004). He often sited the cutout, mini-skirted styles that designers like Andre Courreges and Rudi Gernreich introduced in the 1960s, yet he reartciluated these silhouettes within the distinct cultural context of 1980s New York. From his debut collection, he established a unique look, artfully integrating pop culture and street style into youthful fashions executed in luxurious materials.

Sequined Mini Dress By Stephen Sprouse Photo By Gail Worley

Sprouse was particularly known for his ability to sketch: the graffiti motifs developed for his textiles were frequently drawn by his own hand. The scrawled neon print of this dress has been skillfully engineered and embroidered with a gleaming layer if clear paillettes, lending a patina of glamour to an otherwise edgy garment.

Photographed as part of the exhibit In Pursuit of Fashion: The Sandy Schreier Collection, on view through May 17th, 2020 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.

Eye On Design: Breakfast Suit By Christian Francis Roth

Breakfast Suit By Christian Francis Roth Photo By Gail Worley
All Photos By Gail

Following the lineage of witty designs by creators that include Elsa Schiaparelli and Franco Moschino, this playful Breakfast Suit (Spring / Summer 1990) by Christian Francis Roth employs the Surrealist strategy of displacing everyday objects from their normal environment.

Breakfast Suit By Christian Francis Roth Photo By Gail Worley

Here, a pair of fried eggs are fastidiously pieced down the center front of an otherwise staid, black linen ensemble. Aptly entitled the Breakfast suit, the garment is beautifully constructed, stitched with a level of workmanship and seriousness that belies the joke (yolk)

Breakfast Suit By Christian Francis Roth Photo By Gail Worley
Exhibit Installation View

Roth became known for his engagement with art history and popular culture. His interest in humor and storytelling, combined with an avid devotion to detail, are hallmarks of his work. As the designer himself remarked: “Humor is very important. The quality has to be there, too, otherwise the humor falls dead and the designs just look silly,”

Photographed as part of the exhibit In Pursuit of Fashion: The Sandy Schreier Collection, on view through May 17th, 2020 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.

Eye On Design: Butterfly Headpiece By Philip Treacy

Butterfly Headpiece By Philip Treacy Photo By Gail Worley
Photos By Gail

This Butterfly Headpiece (2003) by Philip Treacy epitomizes the milliner’s untethered and imaginative approach to design. A swarm of butterflies is assembled from exquisitely worked turkey feathers that were cut, painted and hand-fashioned into delicate, fluttering forms. Butterflies are one of the most potent symbols of collecting. Rooted in taxidermic systems yet resplendent with poetry, the insect occupies a prominent spot in most European Wunderkammern, or cabinets of curiosities. Because of its transformative nature, the butterfly has inspired infinite metaphor, and within the realm of fashion the analogy has particularly flourished. It easily applies to the accessories in the collection of Sandy Schreier, which is full of items that hold the potential for dramatic metamorphosis.

Butterfly Headpiece By Philip Treacy Photo By Gail Worley

Photographed as part of the exhibit In Pursuit of Fashion: The Sandy Schreier Collection, on view through May 17th, 2020 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.