"What happened in the end, for the show, just wasn't the collection I was trying to make, in almost any respect. I don't really know what to say about the collection you all saw."
Elle Collection AW 13 is the magazine that keeps on giving and as I keep delving into it as a resource when pondering the collections. Yes, SS 14 shows may be about to kick off but I'm actually snuggling into AW 14 vibes. Multi-season brain mode is switched on and ready to go. One particular quote from EC that stuck with me in particular was in Alex Fury's feature piece on Meadham Kirchhoff where Edward Meadham rues what their "Helter Skelter" AW 14 collection didn't turn out how he wanted it to. A search for perfectionism underscores his verdict but also there's a feeling that he's bristling at the sudden idea that this was the season that big wig editors and journalists suddenly turned around and declared it to be their best yet, heaping hysteric praise upon it. They declared that the duo had raised the bar, upped their game and produced work that was finally palatable to their minimalist and well-heeled tastes.
"The reaction (to the show) makes me more depressed, honestly. the people who apparently liked it before, who said this was their favourite – obviously, you didn't like it before," Meadham carries on in the light-shedding interview. Well, I might be just go out on a limb and say that no, this wasn't my favourite Meadham Kirchhoff collection but that I can recognise it because it excelled in another regard. In truth the real story here is that Ben Kirchhoff and Edward Meadham pushed on and evolved. Just as there exists the film trope of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl, so it is that Meadham Kirchhoff have created a Manic Meadham Kirchhoff Girl, since A/W 2010 when they began their "A Chronology of Women" collections. It's a style trope based on shallow readings of their collections – pastel frou frou, overt decoration, glitter, stickers, more is more is more. Other designers and brands following Meadham Kirchhoff in their wake have adopted this Manic Meadham Kirchhoff Girl as their muse. A veritable tribe exists in London who subscribe to this adorn and express approach in their manner of attire. They might whizz past you in a blur of marabou, lace and all-out Kawaii expressionism. And they genuinely don't give a shit what people think, something which both Kirchhoff and Meadham wholly advocate. All over Tumblr, you can see trails of glitter stickers, symbolically attached to Meadham Kirchhoff images, with teens hearting them, loving them and thoroughly pledging aesthetic allegience to all things MK.
If it sounds vaguely like I'm disparaging the Manic Meadham Kirchhoff Girl, you've got it all wrong. I've got my MMKG moments for sure. Pulling out pieces from my wardrobe for a journalist today, she remarked, "My eyes literally can't adjust to all the colours and textures you've got going on in here." More is more is me for sure. That said I'm able to recognise the need to change and develop and Meadham Kirchhoff's AW 13-4 collection, whilst yes ticking those more "commercial" and "wearable" boxes, also showed a different side to their MMKG. Dare I say she is now "chic"? Urgh. I can see Ben and Ed cringing at such a notion. According to Fury's piece in Elle Collections, they were trying to explore the "pursuit of perfection" at home – keeping things tidy and baking nice things. If that seminal S/S 12 collection underlined the idea that wearing sickly pink and girliness on your sleeve was still a form of female empowerment, then Helter Skelter takes ownership of domesticity. It neatly chimes in with the current foodie obsession and series like the The Great British Bake Off going stronger than ever. All the more need then for slicked black latex wipe-clean surfaces and pinafore/apron detailing.
Better than evolution though is the collection's emphasis of Meadham Kirchhoff signatures that go beyond the MMKG visual trope. That signature involves painstakingly magnificent construction as always, seen in the pin-tucked chiffon dresses and well-tailored tweed jackets and prim uniform dresses. Even a pointed collar edged with broderie anglaise on a velvet dress is treated with deep respect from the duo. These are the things that mark out their couture-on-a-shoestring-resource approach. Where Meadham Kirchhoff go from here will always be intriguing, whether you're a MMKG or not, if you have a deep appreciation for unabashed beautiful quality.