The latest campaign from Anna Sui leaves us feeling mystified.
Starring model Hiandra Martinez and with direction by Jeannie and Chase Sui Wonders, the film beautifully channels the aesthetics of retro horror and mystery films. Saturated reds and greens play beautifully across Martinez’s face as she creeps anxiously through a house that may be haunted. The rococo details of this lavishly creepy interior harmonize nicely with the eclectic vintage inspirations behind the collection. A spooky soundtrack and focused cinematography by Andrea Gavazzi heighten the feeling of suspense.
Despite the beauty and cohesion of these individual aesthetic elements, however, the film suffers as a whole from a lack of art direction. Color and mood do not a story make. Without the principal singularity of vision brought by a creative or art director, the campaign can never attest to any ideas or intentions. We never see what Martinez is afraid of or what she is running towards; we never feel any empathy.
This problem has plagued Anna Sui season after season. Her runway shows are famously fun and well-curated, and she has been an inspiring icon of idiosyncrasy all her career – so we know she has plenty of stories to tell. We hope that moving forward she can focus and find the emotional meaning behind her aesthetic urgency, and bring more direction to what is clearly a talented brand.
Anna Sui Creative Director | Anna Sui Director | Jeannie & Chase Sui Wonders Photographer | Jeannie Sui Wonders Cinematography | Andrea Gavazzi AC | Davide Sorasio Model | Hiandra Martinez Stylist | Amy Dougherty Hair | Robert Tochterman for Garren Makeup | Tatyana Makarova for Pat McGrath Production Designer | Daniel Prosky Line Producer | Isabelle Sui Production Design | Daniel Prosky Editor | Ryan MacLennan