Live streaming shows at London Fashion Week has been pretty stellar, with the BFC hosting a lot of the streams, Topshop hosting the shows beamed from the Old Billingsgate Walk venue and then of course peeps like Burberry doing their own stream. The one show however, where audiences outside of the venue watching may not have got much viewing benefit from was Meadham Kirchhoff. Hell, I think some people in the room may not have gotten the whole gist of the collection from the dramatic catwalk choreography that had the models troop out in linear formation and then do a finale line-up circuit around the catwalk, over in less than five minutes. Did people run backstage post-show in a bid to find out more? Yup and normally it‚Äôs a rush to get OUT of a venue. Did anyone huff and puff over the fact they couldn‚Äôt see any of the details? Yup, a few. Was this the effect that Edward Meadham and Benjamin Kirchhoff have in mind when they orchestrated this uproar? More than likely.
I however had a bit of a sated and slightly smug experience of it all because I went backstage before the show to do some video blogging for M.A.C. and without knowing what I was about to witness on the catwalk, I experienced the calm before the storm, seeing the models‚Äô dramatic looks and best of all, taking in all the details, before it went out in a thrilling flash backed to a scary strings filled, Psycho-inflected soundtrack.
Despite the hour of hanging around, it wasn‚Äôt until the show happened that I got the full idea of the collection because that five minute flurry of models trooping out and exiting was the key piece in the jigsaw puzzle that started off with my discovering that Nasir Mazhar‚Äôs hats for the show would be decorated by flowers. Oooh‚Ä¶ ‚ÄúPretty Pilgrims!‚Äù
Then I was struck by the drench of red and raspberry pink that flooded the collection in textures so rich and utterly mesmerizing even when on rails ‚Äì tweed tiered skirts, jackets with patch pockets adorned sparingly with a few heart shaped plastic buttons. A girl who is wearing grown-up tweed pieces but with touches of the child still strewn about.
The craftsmanship can‚Äôt be stressed ENOUGH about Meadham Kirchoff‚Äôs clothes, something that may have been lost in the transmission of pictures, streams and even at the shows. Whilst impressing the theme of uniformity was part of the reasoning behind the way they showed the collection, somehow I also think it was a bit of a ‚ÄúFuck You‚Äù message to naysayers -as though they were tired of wanting to please everyone and giving everyone a chance to get a long and hard look. It‚Äôs a rather stubborn mentality of ‚ÄúYou either get it or you don‚Äôt‚Ä¶‚Äù and I think by this point, plenty of people do so it‚Äôs a job accomplished at their end. Now at resees, press days and when they are pulled in for shoots and end up in shops, we can take our own sweet time to coo.
The emphasis on the obvious manifestiations of craft can be seen in the embroidery where references to riot grrrl zinescross paths with Russian/Swiss-looking lacework and stitching.
It can also be seen in the beautiful hand knits from Scotland and I didn‚Äôt get a good shot of it but this particular beautiful duck egg blue sweater was paired with a red tweed pinafore over it, a bulked-out layering feat that I‚Äôll be trying out again when it gets icy cold.
The shoes designed with Pollini (by Nicholas Kirkwood) were a slicker affair and somehow the lace-ups together with the pointy kitten heel could really only work for me in the context of being paired with chunky knit socks. Any other way and the shoes would look a little like Dolcis throwbacks.
The memorials or and effigies set on the catwalk actually consisted of mementos from Edward Meadham and Benjamin Kirchhoff‚Äôs childhood and teenage years, building an eerie faux death memorial to themselves. Or perhaps it‚Äôs a symbolic ode to the death of the Meadham Kirchhoff of old ‚Äì a major turning point in consecrating what their aesthetic is all about after two seasons of pivotal collections.
The collection felt like part of Meadham Kirchhoff‚Äôs ongoing bid to add more layers or facets to their complex character that they have been building up over the past few seasons. She wasn‚Äôt afraid to over embellish herself with Christmas-esque adornments two seasons ago or go down a rip roaring path to a heightened amalgamation of Lolita/grunge last season. This time round, the tension is in a flirtation with Chanel-hallmarks best seen in the frayed-edge tweed pieces, the crucifix laden jewellery that hang like the triple string pearls as well as the pervading amount of black in with the undertones of insurgent Catholic school girls, another Chanelism. Once again all of this was hit with the sort of layering that I relate to on a personal level. I‚Äôm not one of those that need to dissect and disentangle the styling. I simply want to wear it all as intended, chunky socks, sheer bloomers, doubled-up skirts and all! This doesn‚Äôt bode well for the bank account but I hear another top notch collaboration with Topshop is on the way so I can console myself there‚Ä¶
We could harp on and on about the rebellious nature of it all, the feminist undertones and the fucked up nature of it all but at the core of it, what is still touching and moving me is their sensibility for honing into girls who don‚Äôt want ‚Äúprescribed methods of good taste‚Äù (I‚Äôm borrowing their quote they gave to an article in last month‚Äôs issue of Elle) or wanting to look conventionally attractive. Even if there weren‚Äôt all those references to 90s feminism, I‚Äôd still say there was an inherently warped feminist approach to their clothes. This isn‚Äôt about binding girls in corsets, pencil skirts and stilettos nor is it about ensuring approving nods will be given from both sexes because you‚Äôre wearing the right trouser with the right shoe with the right jacket and the right bag. These are clothes that in their entirety can be worn to declare ‚ÄúYup, I have five items on along with a hat‚Ä¶ and some chunky socks‚Ä¶ and pointy shoes. Laugh if you wish. I don‚Äôt really give a shit.‚Äù