You only need to look at her designs to know that Anna Sui’s mind works in strange and wonderful ways. After falling in love with Vikings, the History Channel’s swords-sex-and-shearling spectacular, she made a typically lateral leap to the mid-century Scandi-design that reshaped the world in its image: the wallpapers, the fabrics, the furniture that decorated a million suburban homes, Sui’s own family’s included. The collection that emerged from this crucible of creativity comfortably embraced both worlds, as surreal as that sounds.

So some of the models sported Inuit face tattoos, and many of them had tresses as wild and tousled as any Viking princess’, courtesy of a special shampoo that hairdresser Garren had given them to use before the show. “It makes their hair look like it’s only ever been rinsed in a stream,” he said. That same untamed quality was echoed in the shearling trim on a gilded jacket; or the electric blue Mongolian lamb that hemmed a black velvet parka; or the shaggy jackets and gilets, again in deep-dyed Mongolian lamb. Sui designed a coat of multicolored mink scraps. She also knitted a gilet from fox scraps. Both pieces added to the collection’s pagan underpinning. So did the pony-skin boots by Frye. And Jamie Bochert made an exquisite Valkyrie when she closed the show in a knitted Viking helmet and a “silver celestial sequin dress” under an embroidered fake fur cape.

During a preview the other day, Sui mentioned that it’s prints people expect from her. She’s certainly never let anyone down in that respect, but the 30 she showed tonight should make them happier than ever. Sui printed on chiffon, on dévoré, on fake fur, and on an utterly gorgeous lamé skirt, which, paired with an embroidered wool jacket, was as much of a standout look as Gigi Hadid’s ivory lace ensemble. She also made prints of folkloric tapestries, needlework, and crochet, and then over-embroidered them to add dimensionality.

There was so much work in the collection, so much love and care, that it was no surprise Sui’s fans were gushing backstage. She continues to be New York’s greatest unsung fashion heroine, but why stop at New York? In a dream world, there’d be a Gucci or a Pucci suitor in her future.

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