#SuzyNYFW: Marchesa and Anna Sui - Having Fun With The Past

Marchesa: Chinoiserie as a romantic influence

The duo of Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig used Chinese culture of the past to make their dressy clothes modern originals.

Left: Keren Craig and Georgina Chapman take a bow at the end of the show

Left: Keren Craig and Georgina Chapman take a bow at the end of the show

Left: Keren Craig and Georgina Chapman take a bow at the end of the show

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"Why China? Why now?" I asked Georgina Chapman as the Marchesa show ended with lacy delicacy and pale colouring, that was occasionally brightened with the use of imperial red.

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"Why not - I have always had a fascination with Chinoiserie," said Georgina. "It is a culture that truly has an identity and I feel in the West we don't get to embrace that quite as much."

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I am not convinced that the China of today flags up many historical effects that might be found in an era of jeans and t-shirts. But pastel colours like green tea and blush pink added a touch of the Far East to dresses shaped and draped to the body.

Marchesa

Marchesa

Marchesa

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Shanghai glamour, on dresses that seemed destined more for the red carpet than the land of red lanterns, included gowns with their big skirts tufted with feathers. Metallic gold embroideries and other gilded effects gave just enough Chinoiserie without falling into costume.

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Marchesa

Marchesa

Marchesa

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It was all a romantic parade, without bringing anything new to fashion. But a Suzie Wong dress, slender and flowered, had an intriguing feel of Twenties Shanghai that seemed relevant to now.

Marchesa

Marchesa

Marchesa

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Anna Sui: Blythe Spirit

The designer responds to influences of the past but makes them relevant to her world.

Anna Sui

Anna Sui

Anna Sui

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Layers of textures, colours and fabrics filled the runway as Anna Sui looked back to past glamour. But she brought the memories of a velvet underground spilling over in rich colours up to date in her familiar, but charming way.

"It was Blithe Spirit - my favourite movie," said the designer referring to Rex Harrison and Kay Hammond in the film adapted from the 1941 stage play by Noel Coward.

Anna Sui

Anna Sui

Anna Sui

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"The real inspiration was Elsie de Wolfe and her whole circle of friends," continued Anna Sui. "I want that life again. I want that decadence. I want that opulence. Or I want at least the fantasy of it all."

Anna Sui

Anna Sui

Anna Sui

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The wonder of this designer is that each season she continues to create an entire Anna Sui world, rich in colour, complete in every detail, from the ink blue fur to velvet top and trousers, darkly patterned.

Anna Sui

Anna Sui

Anna Sui

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Into the mix came Andrew Bolton of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and his 'Blithe Spirit: The Windsor Set' exhibition which ran from November 2002 to February 2003, that looked at the circle of friends around the Duchess of Windsor who also inspired Sui.

Anna Sui

Anna Sui

Anna Sui

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The skill of the designer is to be as rich in heritage ideas as she is light hearted in fashion fun.

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