LFW: Meadham Kirchhoff and Ashish
It's London Fashion Week, darling – down that glass of Cava, sling on something uncomfortable and sort your hair out. Jesus.
It's hard to write Meadham Kirchhoff reviews, because – and I know this sounds terrible – sometimes I wonder how many different ways I can really say something is stupidly amazing without it sounding boring and contrived. Plus, I don't get much practice, because in my regular column I'm just growling bullshit at everything. Bear with me for this one please. Baby steps, OK?
This season, Meadham Kirchhoff presented a collection themed around "devotion", which is ironic because, as far as I can tell, that's pretty much how everyone I know in fashion feels about them. Their clothes are consistently self-aware, beautifully made, ridiculously cool, nostalgic, refreshing and completely unexpected. Gushing? Moi?
Meadham and Kirchhoff certainly have a trademark style; the veils (which made their first appearance in toxic fuschia in 2010), the Rococo element and the Victorian aunt vibe were all present, adding to the fluttering texture of the black PVC trousers, which were styled to be worn under skirts, the nautical piping on a cream jacket, the over-starched pinnafores and the long, thin collars over printed dresses.
See these shoes? Take a good look, because I need you to understand how amazing they are without me using words like "adorable", "witchy" and "bad ass".
One thing that makes me genuinely excited about fashion is when it takes a moment to sink in. When I walked into the TATE Tanks and saw no set, I was a little disappointed. Sure, there was that smell of the Penhaligons they sprayed around the room last season, which is evocative of kittens whispering about buttercups and Angel Delight. But there were no cupcakes, flowers or painted screens breaking up the runway like last year. In fact, it felt incredibly empty and unfamiliar, this new underground venue where nobody could get any reception and the front row stretched out further than the eye could see.
And then the show started and the tiny knot of disappointment in my stomach disappeared. This was "devotion" stripped back to its basis. Marital veils and monochrome appeared in procession, the whole space was filled with an almost epiphanic stream of bright whites and everyone was sort of silent and pious in response. I'm happy to kneel at the altar of Meadham Kirchhoff. Absolutely everything they do fills me with more confidence than any real church ever could. The only problem is that heaven is right in front of me and I can't afford one damned thing.
Now, I don’t particularly want to admit this to you, but all things considered, I think it’s necessary. When I was 13, I went to Aquarium in Camden Town and bought a pair of fluorescent yellow trousers with a luminescent band around the leg. I know. How I’ve ever managed to be allowed to write show reports with a fashion disaster like that under my belt baffles me too. Anyway, this has been a consistent sore spot for me because I think it’s fair to maintain that I otherwise dress medium OK, pretty much all of the time. I promise this is going somewhere.
This season, finally, after ten years of suffering the ridicule of my friends and family (seriously), Ashish has vindicated me. I’ve always loved Ashish; I love his tracksuit trousers, his florals, his models’ sleepy smudged eyes and now (I can’t believe I’m saying this) I love his high-vis vests and jogging bottoms, rounded with luminescent bands. Can you even understand how satisfying it’s going to be next time my best friend reminds me about those dreaded trousers and I can snap back, “Ashish did them for AW13, you know?”
Although I was obviously distracted by the righting of this terrible wrong, that wasn’t even my favourite bit of the show. There were amazing thick blanket capes in tartan, lined with big fluffy fringes (want/need). And a dress made of the most ridiculously sparkly, plasticised fabric didn't even look glittery, it just looked like a TV screen stuck on static.
There were a few outfits that made me a bit :( because Ashish normally errs on the side of ridiculous and this erred a tiny bit on the side of boring (can no one bring up the "textured mohawks" ever again, please?) but overall (there were amazing overalls too) (enough brackets now) it was a brilliantly tongue-in-cheek, relaxed collection.
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