Call up the As Four studio, and the voice at the other end will answer, "Future Planet of Style." The flamboyantly avant-garde quartet applied a literal interpretation to that epithet this season, designing their first children's clothes as part of a presentation they called Ageless. Throughout the show, kidsor, to use their official title, As Childrenwalked onto the silver stage in petaly getups that were one part Peter Pan whimsy, one part Halloween costumeand completely adorable.
The proceedings featured all the usual off-the-wall stimuli: a performance by the Icelandic Puppet Company; a soundtrack that mixed a tinkly, music box-like composition by Dan and Ben Brunnemer with clips from Vince Guaraldi's Charlie Brown theme, Nina Hagen, and Shirley Temple; the antics of As Four’s pit bull, Powder; and the presence of the equally pugnacious Vincent Gallo. But like a children's book that contains a message for adults, the presentation had depth as well as distraction. Adi, Ange, Gabi, and Kai undertook an inventive, tightly focused reworking of that proper wardrobe staple, Le Smoking. The group’s 13 all-black variations encompassed everything from lace leggings to a metallic-wool sweater to a look named the "Oscardress" that would be viable on the red carpetand not just on Björk. "The collection," said Kai after the show, "embodies the idea of what we call elegancebut can't wear because we can't afford a cleaning lady!"