Hawthorne & Heaney Visits Anna Sui Exhibition

An exciting exhibition focusing on the daring, rock-n-roll  American fashion designer, Anna Sui. Exhibited at the London Fashion and Textile Museum until 1st October 2017. Anna Sui is not your traditional American fashion designer. From Detroit to New York her unique style is forever growing and adapting to the pop culture that reinvents itself for every new generation. She established her label in 1981 and had her first catwalk show in 1991. She has been forever growing her independant vision by not only creating garments but expanding into textiles, accessories, beauty and interiors. The World of Anna Sui features over 100 looks from the designer’s archive and is a beautiful commendation for all she has achieved so far from beginning to end.

“Even if people haven’t heard them for a while, I feel I’m telling stories that never go out of style” – Anna Sui.

The exhibition has a mass variety of archetypes from Mods and Punks, School Girls to Hippies and Surfers. Anna Sui creates a look for a particular woman, in her own words: “one with a sense of fantasy such as a fairy-tale princess but there is also a darker side, you could never tell whether she is a good girl or a bad one.” This is something everyone can relate to as a form of expression. It is also the first time an American designer has been the focus of a retrospective exhibition in the UK.

“But I’m always looking for the unfamiliar perspective on familiar things. That takes research. Which, as I said, is my favourite thing.” – Anna Sui.

One aspects of the exhibition that will capture your attention was the research boards Anna Sui creates for every garment piece she designs. The quote you see above this text is said by the fashion designer herself, how she is always looking for an unfamiliar perspective which is achieved through her research. The boards tell a story, a journey in fact from where the source of inspiration came from and how Anna Sui has adapted that knowledge into her vision and essentially put her own, unique twist upon it in order to achieve the end result. This example on the right is her ‘Floral Stripe Peplum Dress’ part of her Spring 2012 collection. The collection was set out to “evoke the atmosphere of the fashionable Club Sept, frequented by the likes of Jerry Hall and Grace Jones in their early days as models. The collection mixed the glamour of the 1970s with a 1940s’ sensibility, reflecting the style of dress on the dance floor.”

This example showcases Anna Sui’s talent to combine eras, using that inspiration and knowledge from past decades in order to transform it and create a beautifully, modern peplum dress. Therefore if you have an interest in previous decades and an admiration for pop culture then this is the exhibition for you. The photograph below shows the research journey for this particular dress:

The following information was learned during my visit to the exhibition through a CGTN interview shown of Anna Sui opening up about this story. By far the best element of the exhibition as nothing beats hearing information first hand from the woman, herself. The interview is called ‘Anna Sui – Fashion’s true original’:

Anna Sui went to her first Paris fashion show with fashion photographer and friend, Steven Meisel. On the way to the show they stopped at The Ritz to pick up his friend, Madonna who came out of her dressing room and into the car wearing a coat. When they arrived at Paris fashion show, Madonna took her coat off and said to Sui, “Anna, I have a surprise for you.” this resulted in Madonna revealing Anna Sui’s dress that she had on. This gave Anna confidence as out of all the high-end labels Madonna could have worn, she chose hers. When Anna Sui arrived back in New York, 10 years after establishing herself as a fashion designer, she premiered her first catwalk show in 1991. Through Steven Meisel, Anna also became friends with models, Naomi Campbell and Linda Evangelista who helped her get all the models together. Everyone pitched in. Her first show opened up multiple opportunities including international, in particular Japanese companies. All this movement from the simple, kind gesture that Madonna did for Anna therefore Sui believes she will always owe a debt of gratitude to her.

To watch the interview yourself please click on the following URL: https://america.cgtn.com/2016/11/12/anna-sui-fashions-true-original

“My favourite thing was always research. I met all the trim people, the button people, the pleating and embroidery people… I kept coming back to music, too. Music made the fashion more amazing, more accessible.” – Anna Sui.

The exhibition ‘The World of Anna Sui’ showcases a variety of craftsmanship including millinery, gold work, print, embellishment, applique, weave, knit and embroidery techniques which you can see evident in the photographs above. If you have an interest in any of these of design or fashion then you will certainly enjoy your visit to the exhibition. Not only will you see a unique twist put on these traditional techniques but it will open up your mind and inspire you as to how you can use inspiration from your surroundings in your own designs. Anna Sui’s work is narrative as her powerful garment collections simply document her journey and interests through the decades. Her archive clearly shows her fascination with pop culture. You can see from beginning to end, how previous decades have influenced her design, how as a fashion designer she, herself has evolved and grown over time with this particular movement. Her interest in fashion, art, design and music is at the core of each idea, with every collection having its own style and inspiration. The composition of Anna Sui’s archive I personally found very powerful as you were completely surrounded by a wide variety of collections that for me, I just did not know where to start. A true statement of the daring, rock-n-roll designer that Anna Sui is. Her research and collections are the “desire to understand why things happened or what inspired the design, song or artwork. This then leads her onto other topics and ideas that themselves become part of the design process.” I truly would recommend anyone to visit this exhibition as it was a pleasure to witness as there is something to suit everyone’s particular taste and interests.

“Anna Sui’s holistic vision as a designer is about making connections, and everything around the designer is part of the connectivity, and the story.”

Please note that the text written in bold is from the ‘The World of Anna Sui’ exhibition and not my own. For further information regarding the exhibition please follow the URL below: http://www.ftmlondon.org/ftm-exhibitions/the-world-of-anna-sui/

Written by Lauren Stewart



Hawthorne & Heaney for Chaos

A few weeks ago, we were working on a project with newly formed and soon to launch accessories line, Chaos. The brain child of the well know styling team of Charlotte Stockdale and Katie Lyall, the line brings an element of humour and personality luxious pieces.


Image from Instagram @socialcapital

They have produced a series of videos for their launch on Matches Fashion which can be seen on instagram with a whole host of famous faces, including Edie Campbell, Taylor Hill and Binx Walton.  It was for these videos that we did the embroidery onto their tracksuits, similar to the ones we did for Chaos for the Suicide Squad Premiere.


Image from Instagram @susiebubble

There were two back designs, and little clubs (the brand’s logo) on the front in a variety of colour combinations. To see all the designs and colours, have a watch of the video below:

If you would like to read more about the Chaos brand, see this article from the Business of Fashion or check the Chaos website (launching soon)!


Image from Instagram @palvinbarbara

Hawthorne & Heaney on Joshua Kane SS17

josh kane roses 1Our regular readers will be familiar with the long standing creative relationship that Hawthorne & Heaney have with Joshua Kane and his SS17 collection was no exception. This season we produced a series of tie pin/brooch roses which embellished a large proportion of the collection.

josh kane roses 2 The show itself was sharp but beautiful as is Kane’s house style with a sumptuous 3D fabric rose on the lapels. josh kane roses 4

The roses are available in Black Satin, Teal Velvet, Crushed Purple Velvet and Printed Black and White Silk. Below is a little taste of the looks from the runway. josh kane roses 5The roses are created by wrapping and twisting the fabric to manipulate it into the plush shape of a rose. josh kane roses 8

They fasten onto the lapel with a silver stiletto tie pin back .josh kane roses 6

They lend themselves well to both embellishing a dinner jacket or adding a sartorial touch to a more casual suit jacket. josh kane roses 7

Along with being worn on clothing, Kane has also shared the roses styled with some of his other accessories: josh kane roses 9

And here is the man himself sporting his own Crushed Purple Velvet Rose. josh kane roses 10We can not wait to see what they produce next season!

Hawthorne& Heaney on CSM BA 2016

As the academic year is coming to an end, Central Saint Martins, a college in University of the Arts London have hosted their whole school degree show. The university has been transformed into exhibition rooms presenting a small selection of every student’s final collection.

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CSM Degree Shows 2016

Each department have presented their work in an appropriate way from glamorous fairy lights in BA Jewellery design to sturdy pieces of scaffolding in BA Fashion. Some stunning examples of embroidery were presented from the BA Fashion students, and as expected all collections portrayed real hard work and creativity to be individual and stand out from the crowd.

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BA Fashion – CSM Degree Shows 2016

Fashion student finalist Santiago Garcia Trias featured sequin embroidery heavily in his final collection forming very complicated areas of handmade sequins of all colours and textures.

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Garment Close up – Santiago Garcia Trias – CSM Degree Shows 2016

A wide range of materials have been used to create this unusual surface for example metallic paint has been applied over the sequins to create an extra sheen. Santiago has contrasted the highly embellished areas with black silicone and rubber to create the structure of the garment. The close up above is a section of one of his works featuring a range of distorted summer florals. Each garment in his collection has a floral element, the emphasis on the contrast between busy embellishment plain dark fabric helps to emphasise the detail in the embroidery.

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Santiago Garcia Trias – CSM Degree Shows 2016

Many of the students have chosen to concentrate on unusual techniques in their projects. Textile Design finalist Molly McAndrew has based her project on woven beadwork and tapestry weaving developing a range of samples using crystal beads from collection sponsors, Swarovski.

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Exhibition Space – Molly McAndrew – CSM Degree Show 2016

The fashion accessory collection explores ‘The Adventures of Neko Chan and Gingham Man’ taking real inspiration from people in Japan. The geometric nature of the woven beadwork really creates an innocence and simplicity to the pieces in the collection and it is clear to see that the main influence is Japanese manga art in various forms. A very justifiable collection of work appreciating the laborious yet honourable work of an artisan.

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Visualization – Molly McAndrew – CSM Degree Show 2016

As well as delicate intricate work catching the public’s eye throughout the exhibition CSM’s degree shows had a wide range of bold colourful pieces. Jina Park really explored the concept of large handmade sequin work throughout all of the garments in her final BA Fashion collection.

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Jina Park – CSM Degree Show 2016

A wide range of paper materials have been used to create this heavily embellished neck piece. She has duplicated the same motif in a range of sizes and colours and used it throughout the collection.

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Jina Park – CSM Degree Show 2016

Jina has made the sequins out of a reflective materials which really has really helped with portraying movement and fluidity in such big accessories. To see more garments from her collection visit www.jinapark.co.uk

By Philippa Martin