Someone had fun writing Charles Anastase's show notes. "The gutter of romanticism"? "Defiled refinery"? A wordy way to convey the manner in which the high-waisted, tiered, full-skirted, fairy-tale silhouette Anastase has made his own was, this time, tattered and spattered. One reference point for the collection was "the spirit of Kurt Cobain." The ghost of grunge did seem to hover over the mixing and matching of pieces that could have been harvested from a charity shop: a pink angora coat over a rugby-striped dress, say, or a leopard-print bed jacket over a flaring black skirt, or a tiny plaid jacket worn with over-dyed purple denims. The styling and the shoes—a towering combat-platform boot—fit with the idea. But Anastase was mortified that anyone would read something so literal into his designs.

"This isn't retro, it's autobiography," he insisted. "It's the clothes we were wearing when I was an adolescent." Yes, they were from a charity shop, but Anastase and friends would customize them, hand-painting them and adding found bits and pieces till they were unrecognizable. The same notion animated a patchworked velvet skirt and all the items in the collection that were painted or scribbled on, like the "dementia" blouse. It wasn't hard to imagine the precocious teen Anastase working his neighborhood's last nerve with such provocations. The problem is, they still look kind of adolescent. Footnote: Anastase debuted some menswear, including a black leather jacket with "Malia Obama" writ large across its back. He said that was his way of expressing his positive feelings about America's new president.