What passes for hip among thejeunesse dorée of Paris right now? Based on Charles Anastase's debut collection, it's a look that's pitched somewhere between Cyndi Lauper eighties (puffball miniskirts, cropped bomber jackets) and rave culture nineties (jacket emblazoned with an acid-house smiley face, straight-out-of-Goa tie-dye silk jumpsuits). Anastase also added in a dance theme, with crop leggings, tulle skirts, and satin ballet slippersthe latter continuing the short skirt with flats trend seen last week in Milan. The oddness of this esoteric mix was only heightened by the presentation itself, which included a trio composed of Anastase's sisters Kimbilly Nina and Tamara Anna and an artist friend, Fumiko. One played clarinet, another keyboards, and the third took the mic, occasionally giving herself the odd, desultory tap on the head to add a muffled beat to the music.
The question is, of course, what all of this added to the clothes. The answer: precisely nothing. Perhaps Anastase simply wanted to add some character to the proceedingswhy else tie a china cup to the sleeve of a jacket?but his collection worked best when he kept things straightforward and simple, such as the strappy evening dresses that closed the show. There's a lot of interest in the 25-year-old Anastase right now, partly because young French designers with potential are few and far between (no one has really come through since Nicolas Ghesquière), and partly because Anastase is a fashion illustrator of some repute. (He has drawn for A.P.C. and Calvin Klein, and a CD cover for Beck is in the works.) Yet the transition from drawing to designing is tricky: just look at Julie Verhoeven's short tenure at Gibo. For the time being, however, Anastase is worth watching.