20 September 2009

LFW show report: Charles Anastase

In Charles Anastase’s front row: the designer’s No.1 fan Alexa Chung, Peaches and Pixie Geldof (in her new Beetlejuice fright wig) and Roisin Murphy in her element, showing off another bizarre costume for the cameras. Turns out, it was Murphy who was most appropriately-dressed for the show.

This was a fun, jumbled collection, with a hint of the Victorian school uniform about it; with models wearing owlish geek-chic glasses and messy top knots with school marmish blouses, cropped school-boy trousers and chunky ankle boots.

This was a show designed for the photo-shoot not the boutique. There were so many different ideas, that it was easy to get distracted, by say, the tight hessian jumpsuit, so that you missed the perfect Victorian school girl blouse worn underneath, or the crazy hooped crinoline skirts, that caused the oh-so perfect trench coats on top to splay out, Mary Poppins style, or gawp at the clear plastic ballgown without seeing the gorgeous pale pink cocktail dress (with orange sash) beneath.

Also gorgeous; a short strapless mini sack dress, in scarlet silk, with a puff of black tulle train running along its spine that was simple and sophisticated. Sack-style dresses were a recurred theme, strapless and messily ruched, with the casual nonchalance of a towel wrapped around the body after a shower. Some were almost panto-costume in their proportions; a haystack-sized hessian dress, a big black plastic bin bag of a skirt.

“I wanted this collection to be more abstract, less structured” the French designer told Grazia, after the show “to maybe take a piece of beautiful material and just make something very quickly.”

The last outfit was a shift dress covered in scrunched up pieces of orange and red silk, like a child’s tissue-paper collage, a suitably playful finale ‘we wanted to make people dream’, said the designer, although his spooky-quirky music - ‘a Japanese Manga soundtrack, it’s like fake classical’ - would be more likely to give you nightmares.

This is Anastase’s tenth collection, and all those cute-classic clothes will still fly out of the boutiques long after the crazy show pieces are forgotten. So we can allow this former fashion illustrator some flights of fancy along the way.

- Angela Buttolph


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