"John's something more abstract." The 1970 quote from Yoko Ono with which Charles Anastase
labeled his latest show will surely stand as the season's most impenetrable reference point. That's the way Anastase likes it—he shoots down the tuppenny interpretation. But there was one obvious entry point for his latest presentation: Spring 2010 is Anastase's tenth season, and he wanted the milestone to put a cap on everything he's done to date, thus clearing the decks for the next stage of his career. In other words, he simultaneously celebrated and waved goodbye to his past. "Naïve, spontaneous, abstract, gothic," was how he defined it all. There was naiveté in the girlish pink cheeks and loose chignons of the models, and in their ballerina tulles. There was spontaneity in the seemingly random way cloth was draped, gathered, and layered. An abstract chord was struck by a hint of black tulle poking out from under an innocent smock, and the huge hopsack dress that looked like a Balenciaga gown might if it were sewn by dressmakers in a lunatic asylum. As for the gothic quality, that was in the general Tim Burton-ness of Anastase's clothes; the weird dislocation that came from a matching jacket and skirt (both box-pleated) that made no effort at all to fit the girl wearing them; the silvery moiré jacket over the red ballet skirt; or the voluminous transparent plastic wrap that covered a little pink dress. Outfits jumbled like they were from a dress-up box, combined with a fetishist's eye that just about sums up the narrow aesthetic of Anastase's first ten seasons. But if he untangles his twisted point of view for the next ten, will he lose his odd little niche?