As a spectacle, it was unmatched this season - combined with the thundering score of Hitchcock's 'Psycho' it was genuinely thrilling.
In this new age of digital media, live streaming and instant image relay, designer are obsessed with ways of communicating their message to the press, buyers and public at large. At one end of the spectrum you have Christopher Bailey and Burberry Prorsum, the all-streaming all-dancing behemoth of fashion's giant leap online. At the other are Edward Meadham and Benjamin Kirchhoff. For the past three seasons they've resurrected the idea of the fashion show as art installation, playing their increasingly intricate and complicated collections out in cinematic scenery worthy of a mid-nineties Galliano spectacular (albeit imaginatively, on an endearingly London budget). This season, they took that a step further, sending their models marching out like high fashion Children of the Corn en mass, whipping them around the venue and out in less than five minutes flat.
As a spectacle, it was unmatched this season - combined with the thundering score of Hitchcock's 'Psycho' (including that infamous shower-seen screecher at the finale) it was genuinely thrilling, and chilling. But did it work as a way of showing clothes? yes. Scratch that, it worked as a way of showing fashion, which has always encompassed something far more ephemeral than mere clothing. While we only got the gist of what Meadham and Kirchhoff were saying this season, it was more than enough to intrigue. The palette was predominantly black, white and red, scarred with delicate, almost imperceptible decoration. Shapes were almost folklorish, a touch Wicker Man in parts, underscored by the witchy-poo hats and Wurzel Gummidge hair. There were a few twisted takes on Chanel boucles that whizzed past my eyes, lots of kitten heels and slouchy socks.
The point, of course, is that to fully appreciate these clothes you have to view them up-close. Macro-sized catwalk blow-ups are merely not enough to appreciate the workmanship in the garments, or the quality of the fabric - and indeed, with that method of showing, decent snaps will be few and far between. But in pulling sway from the garments, the Meadham Kirchhoff show forces you to look at the garments closer - make a showroom appointment if you didn't catch the precise form of the embroidery on that hem, buy the sweater if you want to find out what yarn it's hewn from. At the same time, this was fashion show as spectator sport - and as evocation of Meadham Kirchhoff's sinister vision, it was bang-on.
Perhaps the wire-fenced shrines erected in the centre of the catwalk were memorials to the idea of the show itself. The fashion shows is dead; long live the fashion show!