Anna Sui

Anna Sui from dolls to catwalks

Anna Sui
Anna Sui


  1.   The origins and early years of his career
  2.   Success and its lines
  3.   Star clientele and collaborations
  4.   The exhibitions on Anna Sui
  5.   The short film and television appearances


Anna Sui was born in Detroit on August 4, 1964 of Chinese parents. At an early age she understood that she wanted to become a fashion designer, so she moved to New York and enrolled at Parsons The New School for Design. She began to design sports collections and took care of styling Steven Meisel‘s photo shoots. He will be the one to encourage her to show her clothes on the catwalk at the

1991 New York Fashion Week: her friends Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista and Christy Turlington paraded for free. She is heavily influenced by the New York punk scene and focuses on this style. In the early 90s, his antennas, anticipating almost everyone, picked up the grunge style from the street.

Anna Sui Gordon Stevenson e Steven Meisel
Anna Sui Gordon Stevenson e Steven Meisel

The first boutique opens in Soho in 1992 and stands out for its black antique furniture and purple walls, painted by Anna herself. The designer sells jeans and Anna Sui perfumes such as Sui Dreams, Flight of Fancy and Romantica. In addition, he launches trends such as 40s floral style and comic prints. From 1997 onwards he made himself known all over the world with the Dolly Girl perfume series.

On the runway at the ’99 shows in New York, she presented black and white and patchwork designs and ponchos inspired by Bob Dylan songs.


The New York Times gets to nominate it in the list of major fashion icons. In 2007, she launched a clothing line for teenagers called Dolly Girl by Anna Sui and in 2009, one for girls called Anna Sui Mini. In addition to the creation of clothing, the designer has also added the production of shoes and perfumes. In 2008, she was a major supporter of the Save the Garment Center, to preserve Manhattan’s fashion district. It has two showrooms, one in New York and the other in Los Angeles.

Anna Sui
Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell and Christy Turlington


Anna Sui‘s most famous clients include Paris Hilton, Patricia Arquette, Mischa Barton, Christina Ricci, Cher, Naomi Campbell, Sofia Coppola – for whom she designed the clothes for the film Lost in Translation – Lindsay Lohan, Hilary Duff, Marija Sharapova, Nicole Richie, Liv Tyler, Courtney Love, and James Iha.

He also designed the costumes featured in the Japanese anime The Count of Monte Cristo, and some lines of Samsung cell phones in 2005. In 2006 his version of Barbie was released for Mattel. She has a real devotion for her dolls: this is how Anna Sui’s inspiration takes hold. Since she was a child, she dresses and dresses her dolls, organizing imaginary Oscar Awards between the colored walls of her room since she was a child.


In 2017, the American designer was celebrated at the Fashion and Textile Museum in London by “The World of Anna Sui”, an exhibition that traces her journey from debut to success, with more than 100 looks and a lot of material from her production.

The World of Anna Sui
The World of Anna Sui

The Victoria and Albert Museum in London, for the Fashion in Motion edition, hosts a small fashion show by the designer. Previous editions had featured Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Tam, Christian Lacroix and Philip Treacy. Two dresses by the oriental designer, dating back to her 1997 spring collection, find their place in the Men in skirts , also at the Victoria and Albert Museum.


He makes a short film during one of his private parties: the material directed by Zoe Cassavettes with the collaboration of Noah Bogen is then used as a “background” for the presentation of the next winter collection. The film evokes the spirit of Andy Warhol’s party-pop era. Guest actors included Vincent Gallo, James Iha, Maggie Rizer, Duncan Sheik, Carmen Cass, Rufus Wainright, Verushka, Marc Jacobs, Karen Elson and George Condo.

She appears in America’s Next Top Model and Project Runway, American talent shows, but also in documentaries such as Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel and Make It in America: Empowering Global Fashion.

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