Flounce and Frills at Anna Sui, So Why Is Everyone So Grumpy?

Fashion Week may be something that is supposed to have no rules, but the staff of Anna Sui still attempted to impose order on a lawless world after the designer’s packed show Wednesday evening.

"No cameras! I can’t have you shoot back here!" yelled one at the backstage entrance. The only spectators in the building whose electronic equipment cost more than their outfits pushed on through regardless, and the assistants threw up their hands. After all, Agyness Deyn and Monet Mazur had just glided through, and what do minor-league celebs matter if no one is there to photograph them?

Ms. Sui herself may have been miffed about that or something else entirely, as she dodged behind a curtain to demand answers of her staff. Emerging later, she answered reporters’ questions brusquely, with a tight-lipped half-smile. Unaccountable, considering her Southwestern-themed gypsy fairyland of a show, which had the crowd bubbling with "I loved it!" and "Beautiful!"

"She has a great spirit, and she knows it, and she’s fabulous," gushed one observer.

Boldly patterned, flouncy frocks bedecked with tassels and crochet ruled the evening, interrupted only occasionally by black knit hairnets and four dour matador outfits at the end; the last model looked less than thrilled to be capped with a black, tasseled fez.

This Fashion Week has an activisty spin, with the outside of the big tent spattered with buttons urging people to vote. The theme inside was activism of a more narrow kind, as baggy "SAVE THE GARMENT CENTER" T-shirts—included in the event’s flowered shwag bag, along with, bafflingly, Sculptz tummy-flattening abdomen hose—proved the show’s most notable fashion statement.

It’s a statement that demands customizing, and Ms. Sui worked it like the pro she is, sporting a smock-like adaptation with slashes down the sides. Not so Sofia Coppola, who appeared characteristically uncomfortable as she posed for pictures with a wan smile. 

If bigger stars were present, they kept a low profile. But the show was replete with minor lights, like Billy Bob Goldstein, notable primarily for owning the mansion where Charlie’s Angels was filmed.  It was the grizzled cowboy’s first time at Fashion Week, and he chatted with the Daily Transom about another headline-grabber, Sarah Palin. "She’s so extreme, so unfit to be president," he said. "I’m very disappointed."

Flounce and Frills at Anna Sui, So Why Is Everyone So Grumpy?