Stashed at the end of the Meadham Kirchhoff catwalk, a pile of garden espaliers and a palatial vase lay fallow, covered in ash as if something had wiped out the flowers that used to grow on them. Dead roses lined the catwalk, the blood red of their petals matching the tube curls of a model in what would have been Ed Meadham’s hero Coco Chanel’s take on a costume out of Children of the Corn, wide-brimmed Amish hat and white ankle socks included. It was anti-nature: a depiction of a fairytale kind of evil. Black uniform jackets were girlified with skimpy kilts and petticoats, and Heidi-like peasant dresses with full skirts looked almost fetishised next to kinderwhorish lace slips. Snippets from the original Batman score were worked into a screeching horror soundtrack layered with the increasing pounding of a frenzied heartbeat. A kind of memento mori, floral motifs appeared in intricate lace and a Jacobean twig print, which paved the way for a regal pre-Renaissance feeling, which wasn’t just conveyed in bling opera gloves and the overwhelmingly beautiful beading of a corseted champagne-coloured dress comprised of separates, but also in the fragments of shiny gold, which gilded the collection from start to finish. This was doomsday opulence, ravishing and terrifying and epic, and loaded with a kind of magic that could only spring from a mind balancing delicately between genius and insanity. This was the golden age of Meadham Kirchhoff.
Dead roses lined the catwalk, the blood red of their petals matching the tube curls of a model in what would have been Ed Meadham’s hero Coco Chanel’s take on a costume out of Children of the Corn, wide-brimmed Amish hat and white ankle socks included.
Meadham Kirchhoff: Live panel discussion
Lou Stoppard, Harriet Verney, Becky Smith, Dean Kissick and Maarten van der Horst review the Meadham Kirchhoff collection on 17 September 2013 at 15:00 BST. Chairs kindly supplied by the studios of Nick Knight, Tobias Klein, Tim Noble and Sue Webster.