I never try to read into Meadham Kirchhoff collections, because they are cavernous and full of opportunities for one to fall flat on one’s face. To start with, they always seem quite politically charged, not least this time round due to the fact that the video which played before the models appeared featured uniformed children marching in formation in post-war Germany, as I think I overheard Ben saying afterwards, which was montaged with grey cityscapes and other quite random clips that must have borne relation to the thinking process for SS14.
However, Ben and Edward simultaneously looked past a world of adults and politics, to what appeared to be the illustrations of children’s books, along with childhood toys and clothes. And then mixed this all up with latex, lurex, skirted shirts, scout scarves, Breton stripes and hand-painted boots (with babushka doll faces). The attitudes of the models themselves remind me in retrospect of schoolboys sitting at a bus stop, looking a mixture of bored and forlorn, as they drew sweets, magazines and books from their sports bags because there was little else to do. Needless to say, the clothes were quite perfect, and to do them justice probably requires a visit to style.com, as my position meant I could only get the top half of every look.
The distinctive theatricality of Meadham Kirchhoff collections was not missed in this menswear presentation, which saw pairs of models stand before the audience, one taking off layer upon layer of clothes, the other receiving each item in the manner of a kind of ‘valet’. This removal of clothing was something which was mimicked by probably half the spectators, mostly standing, and all crammed into a sweltering room in fashion clothes – i.e. anything impractical and seasonally antithetical.
I think what I liked the most about the whole affair was how long everybody was obliged to wait for the models to walk out, preceded by the film that must have repeated at least four times in anticipation. This resulted in many a curse being uttered from the mouths of small-time and equally sassy male editors who may have been standing directly behind me, and made me smile to think that this reaction was probably exactly what Ed and Ben had wanted, with their general, and quite valid distaste for much of the industry. The slightly grungy room played off nicely with what I expect were incredibly expensive outfits, punctuated by these almost ironic motifs of cartoon felt tigers and smiling boots.
The nice thing about Meadham Kirchhoff shows as well is that the same crowd seems to congregate for this one event only, and even though I have been to a mere few of them and can hardly say I am familiar, there are some recognisable faces from instagram accounts, along with highly influential individuals (I photoshopped Tim Blanks’ head out of a couple of photos, and he was sitting next to Sarah Mower). It seems like kind of a cult thing just walking in. On this note…
From a buyer’s perspective I think that Meadham Kirchhoff certainly bears similarities to designers like Raf Simons, in that the rarity of everything makes each piece so precious and difficult to find, and collecting from such a brand is an exciting prospect, with the thought that, in 10 years time, Ben and Edward could so easily be heading a major house like Chanel. This is in every sense – the conception, quality, originality (not that Karl is original), the creation of an entirely conceivable world… I can see I am going off on one. Three cheers for another beautiful collection!