Book List of the Week

Anna Sui’s Book List: Punk and Pictures

By Steve Kroeter November 11, 2013
Anna Sui, Fashion Designer (New York)
View Anna Sui’s Book List

“Everything I’m currently obsessed with can serve as inspiration for my work: films, exhibitions, music, travel, flea markets. And books!” fashion designer Ann Sui proclaims. ”I love doing the research, learning about something new.”

Sui was dubbed one of “one of this decade’s top five fashion icons” in 2010 by Time magazine and she is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America. Known for her innovative often vintage-inspired designs and her celebrity clients, she sent along a dozen book list choices that speak to her many interests and influences.

Cover of Anna Sui by Andrew Bolton; preface by Jack White; foreword by Anna Sui; introduction by Steven Meisel, 2010 (Chronicle Books)

Books on painting, photography, and punk rock top the list along with those on fashion and style. One of the books Sui has taken direct inspiration from is Peter Trippi’s study of the work of British pre-Raphaelite painter John William Waterhouse—“I based my Spring 2014 fashion show on this theme,” she says. Among four books on Sui’s list about the punk period and its aesthetic is the“ beautifully done“ catalogue for the recent Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition “Punk: Chaos to Couture” by Met Costume Institute curator Andrew Bolton, which also includes a contribution by punk rocker Richard Hell. (Bolton is the author of Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, on four Designers & Books listsas well as a book on Anna Sui’s designs).

Another highlight of Sui’s book list is Marisa Berenson: A Life in Pictures, featuring Stephen Meisel’s photographs of one of fashion’s most famous models and muses. Sui notes the impact of British fashion designer Zandra Rhodes with the inclusion of Zandra Rhodes: A Lifelong Love Affair with Textiles by Amy de la Haye, calling the designer “my favorite. I collect her incredible printed chiffon pieces from the early 1970s. I love the fantasy of her clothes.” Sui also loves the “energy, optimism, and joie de vivre” of the multifaceted 1960s–80s fashion illustrator Antonio Lopez and puts on her list Roger and Mauricio Padiha’s  Antonio Lopez: Fashion, Art, Sex and Disco. “I find it so important,” Sui acknowledges in the introduction to her book list, “to maintain that spark of curiosity, the romance of adventure, the discovery of unknown worlds, the charm of an unexpected surprise.”

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