(Peter Michael Dills/Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week)
Coming down from last season’s dalliance with seventies punk, decade-hopping retroist Anna Sui honed in on Nouvelle Vague with a vengeance. Sui isn’t the first designer to revisit the sixties this season (see the Beatnik-chic vibe at Chloe Sevigny for Opening Ceremony, the protest prints at Zero + Maria Cornejo) but, here, revolution wasn’t in the air so much as the louche sexuality of Serge Gainsbourg. Models trussed like Kewpie-doll ye-ye girls (boots, bangs, berets, blowouts, batwing eyeliner) did the twist on fiberglass pedestals before marching onto the runway to the tune of Jacqueline Taïeb’s transcultural riff on The Who’s “My Generation.” Imagine if Godard’s 1966 sex comedy “Masculin-Feminin” had exploded into a Technicolor dreamscape, with Karlie Kloss and Jessica Stam cast as the children of Marx and Coca-Cola.
The clothes — which, minus a couple pairs of difficult Partridge-Family pants, skewed heavily towards the dress side of the equation — were of the mod, leggy variety, the better to show off a rainbow of colored and textured tights. Hanging short and loose on the body, they featured vermiculated psychedelic patterns, sparring paisleys, zany checkered tweeds, and electric brocades corralled by prim Peter Pan collars. Faux fur, too, was a dominant theme. Embarrassing as it is might be, one is obliged to borrow the word “shagadellic” from Mike Myers to describe the blue and purple Mongolian yeti coats and velvety magenta faux-chinchilla shrugs Sui sent down the runway. Unsympathetic critics could call this show "The Sui Who Shagged Me."
Yet, for all the psychotropic indulgences, it was the collection’s simplest look that brought down the house. In a flippant take on the tradition of designers presenting wedding dresses as their final look, Kloss closed the show as the quintessential sixties bride, dressed in an organza mini-dress with daisy-shaped cutouts and a matching lace balaclava. As in Shakespeare, Sui’s comedy ends in marriage.