NEW YORK - Anna Sui has made a career out of dressing cute party girls, so fashioning a collection using TV's "Gossip Girl" as inspiration was hardly a stretch.
A bouncy minidress - maybe with a little leather, lace or ruffle - is the designer's signature, but as she was putting together this line for Target, she realized that there still is a lot of room for personality in that silhouette.
Leighton Meester's Blair was the easiest to interpret, says Sui. "It's the way I like dressing. There's a lot of dresses in her closet and a lot of girliness, so I related to that."
The Blair section of the collection includes a sheer-dot black jacquard dress and another dress in metallic houndstooth jacquard with black lace trim.
The boho look of Vanessa, played by Jessica Szohr, is captured with a velvet burnout dress in a hippie floral in brown and orange. "She has more of a vintage look and mixes odd patterns," observes Sui, who says she was a fan of the show long before this collection idea took shape.
"Even when I had just seen a few episodes, I kept thinking about how they dressed. I thought these girls could be the ones to bring back dressing up," Sui says. "There had been so many jeans and T-shirts on young people."
Sui says she relates to Jenni's (Taylor Momsen) taste in tunes. "She wants to be a fashion designer, but she dresses like a punk rocker. Personally I relate to that - that's my favourite music."
The red, black and white Jenni wears on the show is carried through the collection in a labyrinth-print tunic and off-the-shoulder striped dress.
Blake Lively's Serena gets the sexiest clothes, though. "Serena is so stylish in a sexy way. She likes solid colour and low-cut things," Sui says. "Her colour palette is more sophisticated with darks, charcoal and some metallic accent."
In Target stores, that translates to a black leather jacket with a satin-striped shift dress.
The overall vibe from the collection captures the cool urban lifestyle that the "Gossip Girls" live, but Sui thinks the clothes could actually be worn by a much bigger cross-section of shoppers. "Maybe everyone won't wear the whole outfits, but there are a lot of choices. We wanted to make something for everyone but keep one whole spirit and use four diverse personalities to design it all."
Sui said she knew "Gossip Girl" had fully permeated pop culture when she was visiting Asia this past summer and everyone was asking, "Where is Williamsburg?" and "What is 'uptown'?"
"If I'm in China and Japan, and people are watching it religiously and so fascinated by the lifestyle, then it's a phenomena, and then it's perfect for fashion," Sui says.