Anna Sui: Creator of Fashion and Fragrance Fantasies
Anyone with the slightest knowledge of fashion knows the name Anna Sui. She can easily put in the same category as Gucci, Versace, Donna Karan, and other great modern designers of the modern era. She opened her first boutique in Soho in 1992, and has only grown in popularity since, winning numerous awards for her instant classics. Her line of fragrances, started in 1999, is just as popular as her clothing.
Fulfilling a Dream
There was never a time when Anna Sui did not want to design fashion. Even when she was four, she knew what she wanted to do. From an early age, she would outfit dolls, and some toy soldiers borrowed from a neighbor, so they could attend a pretend version of the Academy Awards in style. She would shop for fabric with her mother, then use the scraps left from her mother’s sewing to make clothing for her dolls. It wasn’t long before she was fairly accomplished at making her own clothing.
As soon as she graduated, she moved to New York City to attend the school she’d had her heart set on since she was a little girl – Parsons School of Design. Instead of going to Paris as she had dreamed, she worked for some minor clothing companies upon graduation, but her talent was going to shine through, no matter where she was employed. She made clothing in her spare time, and showed them at a trade fair. Buyers for department stores in New York saw her designs and bought them immediately. Unfortunately, when the advertisements for these clothes were published in the New York Times, Anna’s current employment saw it and fired the young designer.
With only $300 her savings, Sui began her own business in her living room. She supported herself on this business through the 1980s, selling her designs to big stores in the shadow of more famous designers. In 1991, she was finally able to hold her own runway show and move her business to its own location. Over the next several years, she opened more shops and boutiques as her popularity grew, even starting a line of shoes in 1997.
In 1999, Anna Sui joined forces with the German company, Wella AG, to create her own cosmetics along with a signature line of fragrances. The first fragrance, self-named Anna Sui, was released that year, followed closely by Sui Dreams in 2000.
Anna Sui Fragrances
The first Anni Sui perfume, dubbed Anna Sui, was gentle and feminine, floral, with a hint of sharpness. It has fruity touches of orange, apricot, and raspberry, along with floral accords of iris, lily, Bulgarian rose, and jasmine. This is a perfect scent for everyday wear.
A scent that deftly illustrates the whimsical, sometimes fantastical, feeling that Anna Sui creations can often inspire is Night of Fancy. It is an adventurous version of the previous fragrance Flight of Fancy, deeper and more romantic. It opens with sweet fruity hints of blueberries, wild strawberries, and grapefruit leaves, but these are mixed with accords of jasmine, olibanum, and even milkshake, for a wholly unique sensation. This boldly proud fragrance is appropriately bottled in beautifully carved glass, topped with a peacock.
Fantasy is a long-running theme for Anna Sui, especially in the realm of fragrances. Another long-standing favorite is Secret Wish, poetically feminine like so many of her fashions. This perfume manages to be both fresh and mysterious, touched with natural scents like black currant and lemon and peach and pineapple. It is made deeper and fuller with floral accords and notes of sandalwood, musk, amber, and white cedar at its base. Its bottle evokes the attitude of the scent it bottles, capped with a sculpted glass fairy.
Sharing the Fantasy
Anna Sui has come a long way since the days she sold clothing from her living room. It’s all a part of living the dream she’s wanted all her life, and now millions of others share in that dream when they buy clothing with the Anna Sui label. Supermodels like Naomi Cambell, actresses such as Christina Ricci and Cher, and rock stars like Courtney Love, have all publicly worn Anna Sui designs, and more join them daily, from the world famous to the everyday man and woman who wants the classic yet unique look that only Anna Sui can provide.
Into every design she makes, Anna Sui does her best to meld a certain sweet femininity with a classic touch, while still remaining relevant and modern. It’s all of these elements, the innocence that pushes the envelope that makes her products her own. Whether a dress, a tube of lipstick, or a fragrance, Anna Sui creations bring out the beauty of those who use them.