NYFW: The New Furry, French Anna Sui

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As fashion week comes to a close today, we'll take this opportunity to reflect on some of the things we've seen: A leopard print, ankle length cape. Black eye makeup coordinated to match Ash Wednesday smudges. People--lots of people--turn down free beer. Some really high, like suborbital high, heels. The quietly torture-stricken wearers of said heels, all sporting the same tense facial muscles and seasick wobble that most men rarely perceive but women can spot like a blimp. Fur, in unlikely neon hues.

And this was all before the runway.

The people who grazed the Lincoln Center lobby/holding room/corporate free-for-all before the Anna Sui show last night mirrored the designer's eccentric, technicolor style. In a place like this, where everyone looks so excessively put-together, you can't tell who's Famous or Important so much as you can tell who's not Famous or Important from their expressions of barely contained excitement. We did however follow the flashbulb path to spot Vincent Gallo, Sofia Coppola, and what could only have been Grace Coddington's cumulus cloud of hair hovering above the theater's front row.

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Named one of the "Top 5 Fashion Icons of the Decade" by Time, Sui's now all but relied upon to churn out upbeat shows that somehow have the effect of seeming conservatively punk rock.

And she doesn't disappoint. Her Fall 2013 collection hails from her signature expansive color pallet, here only slightly deepened to create jewel tones that retain maximum vibrancy. Shaggy coats in this scheme abound, and what might have looked like Muppet pelts in less capable hands are surprisingly chic.

Sui has set her sights on France. If it wasn't apparent after hearing the first few seconds of the dainty chanteuse-dominated soundtrack, the models' bouncy ponytails, cat eyes, and berets confirmed it. With all of the heart and none of the simplicity, this fall feels like Jean Seberg in Breathless, but blogging instead of hawking newspapers.

A modish sixties or seventies flair is evident in just about every piece. Bold jumpers paired with knee-high socks and geometric patterns are the likely cause--if not a pair of pants that immediately creeped us out due to their similarity to the floor pattern in The Shining. Conversely, the soft silk floral blouses and rounded collars evoked images of a badass, grown-up Marcia Brady.

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The metallic touches that appeared in the last leg of the show wrapped things up elegantly. There was something vaguely baroque about the inlaid gold details on the dresses or the way a model paused to kiss her sovereign-looking pendant. Save for a dress/overcoat combo that--no lie--was definitely made from the same bronze material as a Power Rangers lunchbox from our late childhood, everything was overwhelmingly sophisticated. Overall, this collection seems to be about turning nostalgia--a yearning that tempts us to become stagnant--into a progressive vehicle. And, of course, getting to wear sparkly tights in the process.


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