Tag Archives: purple

A Journey into the World of Anna Sui

Somewhere in the midst of the holiday craziness my very lovely friend Annie (thanks Annie!) sent me the amazing Anna Sui book which was just released in November. I meant to post about it a while ago, but I didn’t, so here for you today is a look at some beautiful Anna Sui magic.

Inside the pages of this book are images that span Anna’s career from her first runway show in 1991 to her 2009 Autumn/Winter collection. The book is loaded with gorgeous pictures that endlessly entertain as you flip your way through two decades of Sui’s unique fashions. Check out this spread from her first collection which was inspired by the teen magazines she read in her youth. These must have influenced the costumes in the film Clueless right?

(click any image to enlarge)

It’s even fun to look at her less successful pieces, like these 1993 grunge-era gems which were relevant in their time, but now seem very dated (but still in a good way).  I especially like the look on the inside lower right, parachute pants and cropped vest over a striped bodysuit? Totally 90s Awesome.

There are also pages and pages of Sui’s fantastical, feminine, timeless looks which have become her signature. She isn’t a designer who has to be “of-the-moment” rather, she creates her own world and takes inspiration from many different times and places.

While a majority of the book is filled with runway shots, there’s also a number of posed images in which the surroundings are as inviting and interesting as the clothes.

In addition to Sui’s fashions, the book features many of her stunning cosmetics ads as well. These are so pretty, and so different from any other beauty ads out there.

My favorite part of the whole book though, has got to be the inclusion of some of Sui’s inspiration boards. It’s fascinating to see all the different things she pulls from to create the ideas for her collections. Interior design, textile swatches, art, graphic design, vintage scarves, all sorts of diverse pieces that add up to a whole idea—it’s amazing to see her process.

There is also a great preface by Jack White (whose wife Karen Elson has long been one of Sui’s favorite models), an intro by photographer Steven Meisel, and a forward by Sui herself.

If you love Anna Sui, or just fashion in general, this book is a must-have. I could look through it over and over and keep finding new inspiration in the pages of stunning patterns, unusual combinations and whimsical characters that make up Sui’s dream-like, fantastical world.

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Retail Rationalizing

This is how it starts. One day you look at your purse and you think, “that thing is starting to look ragged, maybe I should look for a new one”. So you start to shop around, maybe you look at a few stores where you have gift cards or you do some searches online. Then you spot a bag you like, it’s cute but way too expensive, so you keep looking. But wait, there’s that bag again—and again, it keeps popping up. You do a search for ‘cross-body-leather-bag’ and it keeps following you. You read the reviews, they’re all good. You learn it’s a cult bag, which isn’t appealing because it’s popular (in fact that’s a downside) but it is appealing because it means it’s a well made versatile bag people seem satisfied with.

One day you find yourself at the mall and you think “I’ll just pop into Nordstrom and see if they have that bag”, of course they do. After a few minutes of petting the soft leather lovingly, you try it on. Eventually the sales girl comes over because you look crazy as you obsessively play with the thing and try it on several different ways. Zipping, un-zipping, looking for some flaw to make you love it less, but you can’t find anything, it’s exactly what you want it to be. Damn.

I’ve never been big on labels, if it looks cute, who cares who makes it? I have plenty of clothes from Costco and I’m not ashamed. The problem is that sometimes, especially with bags and shoes, the label is more than just a name, it’s better quality too. You see how I’m justifying this to you? It’s a slippery slope. Although I can’t imagine I’ll ever be the girl spending all her money on designer shoes and handbags, I can understand now how it happens, and I can’t judge anymore. Nobody actually needs a new purse right? I could use a plastic bag or a tote bag or something, the truth is that I want it, I want it. To say that I need it is just a rationalization.

Now it has become a thing, I find myself looking at my wardrobe thinking, “that jacket would look way cuter with that bag”, or “if I just stop buying so many damn groceries I could put the money towards that bag”. This may be one reason many “fashionistas” (I kinda hate that word) are so skinny. Seriously though, when you’re lusting after a product, whether it be a bag, or an ipod, or a miracle face cream, once you’ve started imagining it in your possession, it’s hard to just let it go.

I’m not saying this phenomenon is good, or right, or healthy, but it’s definitely true. You see something, you want something, you then rationalize that you need to have it, you think about it a bit too much, and then finally you buy it. Sometimes it ends up being something you love and use constantly, and sometimes it sits at the back of your closet or the bottom of your purse giving you a twinge of guilt every-time you come upon it.

So, what’s a girl to do? I could show restraint and walk away, but I could really use a new purse, and any money I spend on something else will just be money I could have spent on the one I really wanted. I feel stupid for thinking about an object so much. Stuff is just stuff, right? But I’d assume most people (in this country at least) have made a purchase they’ve rationalized in some way. It could be anything, a TV, a car, a kindle, we all want things. Women get labeled as having this problem more than men, but I don’t think anyone is totally immune to it. So maybe I want a $295 bag, so what? I’m going to go ahead and rationalize it to myself and work and save for it, check some discount sites, and then maybe I won’t feel so bad about it—that’s the point of rationalizing right?


My question is, have the rest of you ever had this problem?

Also, has anyone ever used Bags.Bonanza.com? They have the bag I’ve been obsessing over but I’ve never bought anything in an auction with no returns, I’m scared! Any advice appreciated!

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I Heart Anna Sui

Right after I graduated from college and was struggling to find a job, I ended up working at this children’s clothing boutique a few blocks from Washington Square Park in Manhattan. I pretty much hated working there, it was typical crappy retail—no breaks unless you smoke, no sitting, limited bathroom and lunch breaks, and lots of dealing with obnoxious wealthy customers. But one day, while I was standing there at the counter, staring at the kids clothes that cost twice as much as my own, in walked one of my favorite people—Anna Sui.

She came in with two little girls in tow, they were ridiculously cute, I don’t now if they were her own kids but they looked like she let them get dressed in her closet. They had on beads and adorable frilly outfits and were having tons of fun running around the store. I just stood there starstruck. I’ve seen my fair share of celebrities, but Anna Sui was the first who made me stop in my tracks. I had discovered her fashions in high school and used to cut out her ads and obsess over her patterns and makeup packaging, so I was kind of in shock as I stood there in the tiny shop on University Place. So in she walked, and in a flash she was out again. It took me a moment to convince myself it had happened, and then a second to kick myself for not saying anything. But really, what do you say? “I think you’re amazing! You’re my favorite designer! I love purple!” All those things come off as lame, and also, when a celebrity is with kids, courtesy dictates you should leave them alone.

Whether I had the courage to speak to her or not, Anna Sui remains one of my favorite people. If I had a bad day at work, or if I was just bored, I would go to her store on Greene St. and look at all the pretty clothes I could never afford, and play with the beautiful perfume bottles and cute accessories until I felt better.

So it was pretty exciting when my friend Jessica called yesterday to say she was at the Coterie trade show sitting across from the Anna Sui booth. I demanded pictures and she quickly provided them for me to share with you.

I keep looking at this dress, it just makes me happy. It’s sort of gypsy ballerina, and who wouldn’t want that?

Her classic cute signage and doll heads.

I’ll take any one of those dresses please.


Roses, hydrangeas, and Lavender M & Ms (I’m ordering those for my wedding!)—I hope Jessica grabbed one of those pencils!

Cute boots! I’ll take that folder too.

If you want to be super jealous check out Anna Sui’s home, which was featured in Elle decor, I especially love the latticed windows and her signature black lacquered furniture.

And the woman herself in her domain, I love that wallpaper too.

What I love about Anna Sui is that she’s a rare designer who makes what she loves whether it’s “in” that season or not. She doesn’t blindly follow trends, she makes clothes that are beautiful and interesting and she has a very distinctive style that always sets her clothes apart. She makes clothes that are overtly feminine and girly, but with a hard edge. All her products manage to seem fun, bad-ass, magical, and elegant all at the same time.

Sui is also a great example of someone who struggled to achieve her dreams. She came to New York from Detroit in the 1980s and built a name for herself designing clothes out of her small apartment living off nothing, and now her empire is worth over $400 million—now that’s pretty damn inspiring.

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Beauty Grab Bag: Please Help Me Choose a Wedding Nail Polish!

I need to choose a nail-polish color to wear for my wedding, I’ve narrowed it down to five and I need help. Let’s meet the finalists.

Alright starting with my pinky we have Orly nail-polish in “Charged Up”, on my ring finger is OPI in “A Grape Fit”, on my middle finger is OPI in”Rumple’s Wiggin”, on my pointer is OPI “Do You Lilac It?” and on my thumb is OPI “Louvre Me, Louvre Me Not”. Right now “Do You Lilac It?” is the top contender.

And I’m thinking of having the nail salon do white tips with a nail pen or something too. Or maybe something like this, with purple instead of black?

Anyway, any opinions would be greatly appreciated. Also, at first I was going to paint my nails one shade after I took the pictures, but then I kinda liked the multiple shades of purple, so I painted the other hand and went with it. I kind of dig it. I apologize for my less than perfect manicure job and the fact that I’m covered in shiny sunscreen in this image (it’s not sweat I promise!).

Speaking of nail-polish, Chanel debuted its new Fall nail colors, they aren’t available until september 10th but I’m already totally bored with them. I know everyone is going crazy for greige (grayish beige), and don’t get me wrong, I love a gun-metal or even true gray nail polish, but these just don’t get me excited.

The green one might look nice, I’d try it, but not for $23, and I’m sure Essie or OPI will be coming out with similar colors soon (if they haven’t already). Also if the military trend is so hot this fall then won’t these colors just look boring against the already toned down army-like palette? I like rich colors for fall, so I say “meh” to khaki and also to Chanel.

Alright, I have to go work on some bridal boxes, but in case you’re having a rough day, I stole this picture from Jezebel because it’s so effing cute and makes me smile every time I look at it, so enjoy!

Corgis are ridiculous, look at his little legs! Too cute, I can’t take it. Alright, meet me back here tomorrow for Beauty in the Movies, this week I’m featuring a recent film, Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut—Whip it!

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Beauty grab-bag: Purple Power

The theme of this post is purple, maybe you love it maybe you hate it, but to me, it’s awesome. I’ve heard purple described as a “juvenile” color before, and it pissed me off. Try telling the royals that purple is juvenile—it’s their signature color, ok? To me, Purple always felt edgier than pink. It’s can be girly, but it can be regal, and it can be dark and gothy too. I love all shades from lavender to eggplant, I like it on my clothes, I like it on my eyelids, I like it on my nails, it can be a neutral or it can be a statement, and since it’s comes from mixing blue and red, it’s flattering on pretty much every skin tone.

Sephora tells me Purple is the hot color for fall, and I’m like “duh!” that’s why I chose it for my wedding!

Here’s a blueberry pie I baked this morning, I thought it looked really purple and pretty as I was making it, it doesn’t look as purple when it’s baked, but I look forward to eating it anyway.

Also my future sister-in-law, Alison, sent me this beauty finds story, and it involves purple shoes so it applies! Here’s what she says:

“It is a sad day when you realize that you might have to start wearing actual shoes again, time to bid farewell to the carefree days of flip-flops and sandals. I have so much trouble finding fat shoes that don’t pinch my toes or gape at the sides, that was until I wandered into Nine West, I was hoping to find some sandals on clearance for next year but instead I found these great suede flats an amazing price. They were marked $24.95 but if you buy 2 you get one pair half-off, so for less than forty bux, these comfortable, cute shoes are all mine”

I might have to seek those babies out and try them! Don’t forget to send me any beauty buy suggestions and I’ll feature them, we want to see what you buy, especially if you get it for a good price!

I’ve been obsessively looking for a cute pair of purple flats to wear at my wedding reception once I inevitably get sick of (or fall off of) of my 4 inch heels. Here are some I’ve been looking at:

These are from Frye, and while I love Frye boots and sandals, I’ve never had good luck with their flats for some reason. If i got them I’d have to start breaking them in ASAP,

They’re on Zappos for a steep $148

These are from Yoox.com (which I’ve never ordered from) and they’re cute, but still a little pricey at $98 and of course you never know if they’ll be horribly painful!

These are from blowfish and are available on Zappos for $40.00—but would they be comfy for dancing?

Or of course I could just go for these, because I already know they’re comfy, still $40 though.

Anyway, purple is super hot this fall, so I’ve put together a polyvore collage of pretty much anything that’s purple and cute. Also check back here tomorrow for Beauty in the movies this week we feature the cult classic Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains, it’s a great movie and it’s gonna be good!

perfect purples by justinez featuring Alexander McQueen dresses

Womens Miso Ruffle Pants
4.99 GBP – republic.co.uk
More intimates »

Propose a Toast Heel
$35 – modcloth.com
More pumps »

Julie’s Dainty Purple Flower Ring
$17 – fantasyjewelrybox.com
More rings »

Echo Purple Candles
$6.95 – crateandbarrel.com


32″ Lavender Swirl Paper Parasol
$6.50 – asianimportstore.com


OPI Rumple’s Wiggin’
shareasale.com


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