If Charles Anastase's latest collection looked familiar, that's because he decided to use his London debut as an opportunity to revisit the first collection he ever showed in Paris. So there were a lot of those high-waisted, mini-crini silhouettes that once made Anastase seem like Vivienne Westwood's most ardent disciple. And, just like the first time, his mother was responsible for the little cardigans that were layered over washed-out silk pieces in the palest pastels. The look had a dreamy languor, but the designer has always managed to stay this side of saccharine by adding twinges of disturbia. After all, he cites a Degas ballerina and Lolita as inspirations, girlish extremes of innocence and experience.
Those extremes were more obvious than ever here, where a crinoline floated over suspendered black thigh-highs, or silky fairy-tale layers were anchored by a tiny black leather biker jacket. The leathers highlighted a fifties "bad girl" subtext: a denim jacket with biker insignia, skinny jeans with a big red "Charles" appliquéd across the butt. Then there were the shoes, towering cork platforms rather than the usual ballet pumps. They added the element of unease to which Anastase is partial ("a little nightmare," he calls it). His approach to what it feels like for a girl is pretty close to Rei Kawakubo's. And by the way, that was Adrian Joffe, Mr. Comme des Garçons himself, in the front row.