Fashion Designer of the Month for November 2022
Anna Sui is a celebrated icon in fashion. As a teenager in Michigan, Sui read a passage in Life Magazine that described the life of a woman who graduated from Parsons New School for Design–Sui’s dream school–and then moved to Paris where Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor opened a boutique for her. Years later, Sui would re-read the story and discover that the woman was the daughter of legendary photographer Irving Penn. Struck by a renewed sense of ambition, Sui took a leap of faith and landed herself a coveted spot at the school she’d dreamed of since she was four.
Rock music was highly influential in Sui’s early designs. She was heavily involved in the 80’s punk scene and emulated the colorful, cutting-edge wardrobe of rockstars. However, her true career breakthrough would come via supermodels and Sui’s friends Linda Evangelista and Naomi Campbell, who convinced her to conduct a catwalk show. It received critical acclaim from those attending, which would become a common occurrence throughout Sui’s illustrious career. Much of her fame came after the introduction of her own eponymous fashion label; to nobody’s surprise, her label won numerous awards and a dedicated fan following.
In 2011, The Time ranked Anna Sui among the top five icons of fashion of the decade. She also won a CFDA Geoffrey Beene award for Lifetime Achievement. Her unique style combining a love for music, history, color, and culture remains an enduring presence in the world of fashion design, and her eclectic collections represent some of the best of the best throughout the past few decades.