Anna Sui is the first highend makeup brand I loved when I was in highschool, as I was deeply attracted to their mysterious, Romantic-Gothic image. I have collected a fair bit of their products and enjoyed their company. Their product can be hit or miss but the design was always easy on the eyes.
Our long-term (4 years was long) relationship ended abruptly in spring 2010, when the brand underwent a revamp, replacing their rosebud lipstick tubes with something that looked like a coffin. Loyalty shouldn't be one-sided, if a once-favorite brand takes a sharp turn and no longers offer the thing I love it for, I see no problem looking elsewhere (Luckily, 2010 was also the year Maybelline and Revlon released a bunch of beautiful shades in wonderful sheer formulas).
I suppose the coffins (among other things) didn't sell well, Anna Sui Cosmetics has since been through two additional packaging revamps. According to a friend, the brand has also closed quite a few counters in Shanghai, now can be only found in obscure shopping malls.
Last year(I mean 2015) when I was eyeballs-deep into the Suqqu research. I decided to take a break and get in touch with my old spark. Since I live so closed to Anna Sui's home base, I reckoned I should at least pay a visit to their Soho store (especially I go to Chinatown almost once a week, heh).
Well, one can't just visit Anna Sui store for the first time and not buy anything. I ended up with a bunch of toys (their tights, socks and hankies are really well-made), including two lipsticks.
The newest design is just called Anna Sui lipstick, the range is still categorized by letter (V for Velvet, M for Marble, C for cream and G for Gloss) and a numerics arranged in the same old way. Shades in 200s would be shades of purple, 300s for pinks, 400s for red, 600s for orange etc.
The box uses the same design as the wall paper of their new store location opened 2015 (which by the way is smaller and further south, just a block from Canal Street). I think it was in the changing room?
The new (this is 5th generation) Anna Sui lipstick has lots of things going on: Clear geometric cuts that makes it look like ice sculpture, a snowflake top and even the black base has starry relieves.
The cap is made of high quality plastic that is seamless, giving a crisp and secure clip. The whole thing is quite chubby for a lipstick so it doesn't fit in most lipstick holders. I wasn't sure how I feel about the lipstick (the fact that I didn't want to touch it since last winter should indicate something), full of design elements or fugly?
I think it's a little fugly.
Well, look at the cool star shaped lipstick! It doesn't go away after one swipe like all other gimmicky brands. Instead, it will stay this way (being a pain in the rear to apply) for many uses to come!
Anna Sui Lipstick V in 302 is a creamy blue pink. The formula has good level of pigments that applies in to an even and thin layers and it features the same rose scent. Nothing has changed when it comes to the formula. Could it be their product development actually knows the rule of "Don't fix it if it's not broken"? Shocking.
I like the lipstick formula but isn't a fan of the finish. It's indeed smooth but the inclusion of the silver shimmer now gives the color a milky appearance...Urgh, I don't like milky pink (and somehow I have three of them).
Even though I am not feeling Anna Sui's new packaging, I do like the texture of their lipstick that I am probably more likely to get another Anna Sui (instead of repurchase Bobbi Brown or YSL). The sheer red I wanted was sold out, I should hunt it down when I get the chance.
Looking at the whole line up and new releases, the brand seems like it's losing its direction and kept on changing in hope that something would work (instead they ended up with another design that's out of whack). I hope something is done so the brand doesn't go down under.
P.S. (When it comes to fashion) I thought Orla Kiely is becoming the new Anna Sui (for retro vibe, geometric pattern with a distinct style), I need to visit their store one day!