09/13/2012 02:13 EDT | Updated 11/13/2012 05:12 EST

Anna Sui mixes and matches this way and that - and it all comes together - at NY Fashion Week

NEW YORK, N.Y. - New York Fashion Week has seen a lot of mixing and matching of fabrics, colours and textures, making for all sorts of chic and sometimes kooky combinations for the upcoming spring season. Anna Sui's spin was to clash centuries.

She was fascinated by the period following the fall of Napoleon III in the late 19th century after reading a historical book this summer, and she studied up on 1950s'-era French interior decorator Madeleine Castaing. She also found herself inspired by neo-classical painters and how they evolved into the Impressionists.

At least they're all French.

As typical with Sui, there also was a little punk edge to Wednesday's Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week show at Lincoln Center. "Somehow it all comes together, even when you don't think it will," said Sui with a laugh in a preshow interview.

She was right: A leopard-print babydoll, a knit-ribbon lattice cardigan, a neoprene motorcycle jacket and a delicate toile voile top can indeed share the runway. "It's opposite ends attracting," she said.

The threads that tied them all together were the favourite shades of blue and purple, the girlie details like floral prints and crinoline, and the energy that Sui captures on the catwalk in a way that few other designers at these seasonal previews seem to do.

"I like that how from chaos, something new is born," Sui said.