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Installation view of The World of Anna Sui at the Museum of Arts and Design, New York, 2019. Photo by Jenna Bascom; courtesy of the Museum of Arts and Design

The World of Anna Sui at NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale

February 28 through October 3, 2021

With over 100 looks, The World of Anna Sui explores the glamorous and eclectic world of one of New York’s most acclaimed designers. The exhibition invites viewers to step inside Sui’s imagination to discover her creative process and the diverse influences that contribute to her signature aesthetic sensibility. The World of Anna Sui is organized by the Fashion and Textile Museum, London and is curated by Dennis Nothdruft.

Since her first catwalk show in 1991, Anna Sui has become known for creating fabulously original clothing inspired by intensive research into vintage fashion and popular culture.

The exhibition ranges from early looks such as the exuberant Carnaby Street schoolgirl outfits worn by supermodels Linda Evangelista and Naomi Campbell in Sui’s first runway show in 1991, to the cowgirl and cheerleader modeled by Gigi and Bella Hadid in her Spring/Summer 2017 Americana-themed collection.

Born in the suburbs of Detroit, Sui joined New York’s cultural underground at an intensely creative time in the 1970s, forming important relationships in the worlds of fashion, photography, art, music, and design. The exhibition looks at Sui’s artistic journey through her creative process, collections, interiors, and collaborations.

Thematically arranged, the exhibition explores Sui’s lifelong engagement with an array of ‘archetypes’ including the rock star, the schoolgirl, the punk, nomads, and surfers — motifs that are featured throughout her work. From fairy tales and fables to Victoriana, Sui researches her current cultural obsessions in minute detail to create a different story with each collection.

Hallmark outfits include Sui’s “Silver Peruvian Ensemble” and iconic sequined silk organza “Babydoll Dress” from Spring 1994. Featured looks will be displayed in context with the original backdrops used in Sui’s arresting fashion shows. Items on view will also include fashions worn by Sui’s personal style icons who include Anita Pallenberg and Jane Holzer.

Anna Sui Portrait by Joshua Jordan
Anna Sui Portrait by Joshua Jordan

Ticket Information
Advance timed tickets are required for this exhibition. Tickets can be reserved at www.NSUArtMuseum.org or by calling (954) 525-5500. Tickets are limited for each time slot in order to maintain reduced building capacity and comply with COVID-19 social distancing guidelines.

More About Anna Sui and the Exhibition
Anna Sui is known for the richness of her printed textiles, combining a complex layering and mixing of patterns, texture, and colors. The show highlights Sui’s own distinctively graphic textiles as well as those created with high-profile partners such as Ascher Studio, Zandra Rhodes, Jeffrey Fulvimari, and Barbara Hulanicki. In addition, the exhibition explores her design processes through mood boards, photographs, sketches, runway shots, and cultural ephemera. A section on collaborations documents her long-term creative partnerships with models such as Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington, and Naomi Campbell, as well as with make-up artists Pat McGrath and Francois Nars, jeweler Erickson Beamon, knitwear designer and milliner James Coviello, and hairstylist Garren. The influence of music is seen throughout the exhibition, from Sui’s continuing love of Bohemian chic to her seminal 1993 grunge collections.

The range of different styles on display emphasize Anna Sui’s consistent design approach as she incorporates her current passions into every garment. As it celebrates American fashion, the exhibition also provides a fascinating guide to the history of American pop culture, and an inside look into the creative process and unique world view of this iconic designer whose daring and experimental approach to design has become a mainstay of the international fashion scene.

“Originally displayed at the Fashion and Textile Museum, London in 2017, The World of Anna Sui continues to highlight a fresh and engaging cultural perspective. The exhibition showcases a fashion designer who is not only highly creative and entrepreneurial, but also playful and positive,” said Dennis Nothdruft. “I’m delighted that as the exhibition continues to tour internationally, the joyous and influential work of Anna Sui will be celebrated among ever-greater audiences. After successful runs in Shanghai, Tokyo, and New York, I’m very much looking forward to another exciting incarnation of The World of Anna Sui at NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale.”

Fashion and Textile Museum
Copyright Fashion and Textile Museum

“NSU Art Museum’s exhibitions explore the full range of visual culture as expressions of contemporary life,” notes Bonnie Clearwater, NSU Art Museum Director and Chief Curator. “Anna Sui shares with other artists of her generation a renewed interest in storytelling and an exploration of societal archetypes. Throughout her career Sui has inventively blended global art history, music, and popular culture for each new collection. Her designs are inspired by extraordinary and creative women and her embrace of collaborations across disciplines keeps her at the forefront of fashion, art, and design. We are delighted to present this compelling exhibition.”

Anna Sui said, “I am delighted to partner with NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale, and to be able to once again see The World of Anna Sui exhibition come to life starting this February [2021]. I can’t wait to share all my treasured designs, collections, inspirations, and more from shows past. See you soon, Fort Lauderdale!”

Pop-Up Store and Online Store
The World of Anna Sui Pop-Up Store at NSU Art Museum will feature a selection of ready-to-wear, accessories, and beauty products along with the hardcover book, The World of Anna Sui. Exclusively for the exhibition Sui is reissuing two styles in her Florida Sunshine print from the Spring 2017 collection: a long-sleeve, button-front shirt dress and a tiered maxi dress. Items may also be purchased at NSU Art Museum’s new online store at www.NSUArtMuseum.org/Visit/Store. All purchases support NSU Art Museum exhibitions and programs.

Organization and Sponsors
The presentation of The World of Anna Sui at NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale is generously sponsored by The Douglas A. Hirsch and Holly S. Andersen Family Foundation in honor of Jane B. Holzer, and additional support provided by The David and Francie Horvitz Family Foundation.

About NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale

Address: One East Las Olas Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301 | Phone: (954) 525-5500

Website: www.NSUArtMuseum.org | Social media: @NSUArtMuseum 

Content and other images courtesy of Broward Cultural Division.