NEW YORK – Anna Sui (search) is a designer who knows how to have fun and it shows in her clothes, in her models' carefree attitude and on the smiling faces of those watching her fashion show held as part of New York Fashion Week (search).
"I love Anna Sui. She always makes me smile," said Cindy Weber Cleary, InStyle's fashion director. "She makes everyone excited."
Naomi Campbell was first up on the runway Wednesday night, and her brown lame outfit, including a tweed jacket with faux pony trim and a complementary skirt, was a crowd pleaser.
"I loved the bronze leather looks. She (Sui) has this amazing ability to look cool and fresh season after season after season," Weber Cleary said.
Once one gets past Sui's Russian-style fur hats and oversized sunglasses, which were a favorite of Weber Cleary's 12-year-old daughter, there were several items in the collection that were wearable and hit on several of next fall's top trends, including metallics, beading and loose shapes.
Some of the best looks included a turquoise houndstooth wool jacket with bead embroidery trim, worn with a houndstooth wool skirt and a turquoise silk charmeuse bow blouse, and a copper drop-waist dress with a double-breasted plaid wool coat. A brown distressed leather skirt suit paired with a floral-print ruffle blouse was a good example of the casual-dressy blend that will be important next season, and a cream mohair loopy fringe dress with a black velvet bodice emphasized both the handicraft look and the high-waisted silhouette.
"Her look is totally chic in the freshest, youngest way," Weber Cleary added.
Other designers previewing their collections for retail buyers and the fashion press included Vivienne Tam, Michelle Smith for Milly and Michael Kors.
Tam explained in her notes that she aimed to blend the glamour of 1940s Hollywood with an evening at the Beijing opera.
Her palette ranged from brown to pale pink, and there were several pieces in teal, which is emerging as a popular contrast color. A teal dress made of cut velvet in a paisley pattern was among Tam's outstanding styles, as was a burgundy floral chiffon fitted dress that followed the rule of putting the biggest and boldest part of the print near the face and hemline while toning down the middle.
Tam enthusiastically embraced high waists, with the top of most of her skirts and slacks 2 inches to 3 inches above the natural waistline.
At Milly, Smith made a case for coats, including a short black lambswool crepe jacket with a peplum and a long purple velvet ruffle coat. Her blouses were feminine and delicate.
Meanwhile, Kors' instructions to his models were to be glamorous and sporty. "Your Oscar is on the library shelf. ... You out-ski the paparazzi" was written on a backstage poster the models would pass before stepping onto the runway.
The models captured the right look — and the luxe winter clothes they were wearing did, too.
Kors' nylon ski pants, beaded Fair Isle sweaters and tweed ombre feather skirts were among the most modern pieces seen at Olympus Fashion Week, which runs through Friday.
While gold and bronze have been the most popular metallics on the catwalk, Kors favored silver, using it for ski jackets and the hardware on a stunning military-inspired black wool suit that had a long slim skirt and a jacket with red trim and epaulets.
Cindi Leive, editor in chief of Glamour magazine, noted that the ski, military and casual chic looks have long been a part of Kors' collections and now others are jumping on the bandwagon. "Michael has realistic, wearable ideas and then he adds luxurious touches," she said.