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Left without a job, Sui took her 0 in savings and started a business out of a little corner of the living room in her apartment.

For several years Sui ran the company out of her apartment, doing odd-jobs for spare income and reinvesting every penny of earnings into her business.

and in 2009 earned the Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), joining the ranks of Yves Saint Laurent, Giorgio Armani, Ralph Lauren, and Diane von Furstenberg. Anna Sui products are sold through her free-standing stores and distributors around the world in over 50 countries.In 2006, Fortune estimated the collective value of Sui's fashion empire at over 0 million.The first freestanding Anna Sui boutiques opened in 1997 in Tokyo and Osaka through a distribution and sales license with Isetan.The same year, Sui designed her iconic mannequins together with New York gallerist Ralph Pucci.Her debut with the style magazine featured dresses from her Spring/Summer 1995 collection inspired by period pulp comics and the puffed sleeve, square shouldered, floral dress fashion popular during the war rationing years of 1940's era fashion.

1997 marked one of the pivotal years in the emergence of Sui onto the world stage.

Sui was born on August 4, 1952, in Detroit, Michigan, the middle child of French-educated Chinese emigrants, Paul Sui (Chinese: 蕭惠光, pinyin: Xiāo Huì Guāng) and Grace Sui Fang (方光琪, Fāng Guāng Qí) who met while studying at the Sorbonne in Paris where Sui's father was studying engineering and her mother, painting.

Sui's mother taught her about putting together a wardrobe, bringing a young Sui with her to shop for fabrics.

The mannequins were based on the measurements of actress Michele Hicks and would later form the inspiration for Sui's first diffusion brand, Dolly Girl.

Japanese magazine Spur featured a portrait of Sofia Coppola in one of Sui's 1997 Fall/Winter dresses complete with a beaded devil horn headband in its October edition.

Sui was driving with her friend Steven Meisel to see the Jean Paul Gaultier show.