Life Update with Anna Sui! A New Decor Line, NYFW, and More

by Sydney Sadick

Anna Sui is channeling her inner teenager with her first interior design collaboration with PBteen, comprised of furniture, bedding, and decorative accessories in the designer’s signature aesthetic. Not only is Sui busy with the collab, which launches September 7, but she’s also prepping for her Spring ’18 NYFW show. We catch up!

Why did you decide to partner with PBteen?
I mean, who wouldn’t want to? I’ve been so excited about interior design and putting it out there through interviews and things like that, so when they approached me to do this I was just so excited. I have to say, it’s been such a dream. Everyone’s been so interested and responsive in capturing my world. I think the product is just incredible.

What was the inspiration behind the collection?
A lot of it is inspired by my world and my idea of what interior design should be. I drew a lot from my personal teenage bedroom and my current apartment. For example, the wicker headboard is just like the oneI had when I was a teenager, but I redid it in black. I made jewelry stands because I love displaying my jewelry on my vanity and seeing what I have. The prints are all from my collections, but we recolored them.

What kind of a teen were you?
I guess not a normal one! [Laughs] I saw a poster and fell in love with art nouveau, so I changed my pink bedroom to black and white. I remember going to a secondhand store in downtown Detroit to get a vanity table, which was my first piece of vintage furniture. My mother was horrified but I knew I was going to paint it shiny black. I still own that vanity—it’s in my showroom now and has been an inspiration for a lot of my products and my store design.

Sorry for the reminder, but summer is ending…what have you been up to?
It’s been exciting—I had an exhibition in London that was kind of like a retrospective but it really embodies my world. We did 100 outfits from all of my past collections, but I also wanted to celebrate all the people who I worked with through the years, so we had a section of all the people who I’ve collaborated with like Erikson Beamon jewelry, Pat [McGrath] and Steven Meisel, who’s been my closest confidant throughout my whole career. I showed all the photographs he’s taken of my clothing.

Your first show at New York Fashion Week was in 1991. Do you still get the runway-show scaries?
Always, and it never gets easier. There’s always something you don’t anticipate that turns into a challenge. You have to come up with a new idea and reinvent yourself every single time, and you just pray that idea hits you in time so you can make it happen.

From Bella to Gigi to Taylor Hill, your models never disappoint. Who are you loving right now?
Who doesn’t love Bella [Hadid], Gigi [Hadid] and Kendall Jenner? They’re the model supermodels. But there are also so many pretty girls around right now like Taylor Hill. I love the diversity and have always used a lot of Asian models. We’re also using models from the Middle East, India…it’s the way the world is, so why not represent your runway that way? It’s been exciting to have that selection and availability. I think that people are really reaching out and finding very diverse models at this point.

What else is new in the world of Anna Sui?
I’d love to get the exhibition here in New York. We’re having my book translated into Japanese and also working on Chinese. I love doing collaborations so I’m always excited when the opportunity happens because it gives me the do something I can’t do myself, and it challenges me.

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