Warmth and Wit in a Collection of Psychedelic Summertime Daydreams that Blossom from Head to Toe
By Mark Wittmer
Anna Sui seems ready for summer travel: the endlessly whimsical designer’s Spring 2022 collection was an ode to free love and sunshine, a hippie daydream seen through the lends of contemporary wanderlust, executed with precision and imagination.
The tone was decisively set from the first bright pink look that came down the runway as if blown in on a floral-scented island breeze: crocheted bikini, surf shirt, straw hat worn at a jovially jaunty angle.
The groovy 70’s vibes didn’t end with the knit bikinis; we saw plenty of wrap, calico, and shift dresses, jackets with oversize collars, and some wonderful high-waisted wide-leg pants, all executed with colorful flower-power prints.
While as a whole the looks are at once eye-popping and easy on the eyes, the details here are worth scrutinizing as well. As always from Anna Sui, the prints and lace patterns are made with lots of love, but the designer seemed especially meticulous and joyful with this season’s return to in-person shows and spring travel. Her process often involves researching design and illustration styles from specific eras and cultural scenes, and the resulting graphics this time around, including a fun logo for a surf shop or smoothie bar named “Sweet,” feel totally on point and immersive.
The handcrafted Perler-bead jewelry and belts felt so inventive, playful, and of course era-appropriate. Knit flowers blossomed.
Impressively, the designer managed to avoid falling into cheesiness or kitsch. Attention to detail helped in this respect as well, but by lending contemporary touches to the looks. This season once again sees Anna embrace her love of Tevas through a collaboration with the trendy sandal brand. The partnership actually makes a lot of sense with the collection as a whole and the spirit and identity of the brands, as opposed to a trendy sandal collab for a trendy sandal collab’s sake (cough cough Rick Owens Birkenstock). Socks with sandals seem here to stay, but once again, they made a lot of sense with the looks – in fact, the colorfully printed socks seem to, amazingly, tie the looks together. Other smart contemporary details include water-bottle holsters and one prairie dress’ gorgeous execution in a fine sheer fabric.
Always warm and whimsical, Anna Sui has an endlessly charming talent for bringing her personal brand of joyful adventure to every style niche she investigates. While her approach hasn’t radically evolved over the years, it’s only because she has such a strong voice, and is good at doing what she does. With its harmonious head-to-toe looks, colorfully blooming patterns, and precise yet breezy details, this collection really sang with the warmth of a summer breeze.