In His Space

Mad About The Boy: Exhibition Text

by Lou Stoppard .

Numerous humble teen hangouts, from the supermarket to the playing field, can be spotted as backdrops to fashion images.

A mix of sombreness and joy ran through the Spring/Summer 2013 presentation of now-defunct London label Meadham Kirchhoff, a part of which is restaged here by Tony Hornecker, the original set designer. The show, titled (Br)Other By Proxy, drew heavily on Benjamin Kirchhoff’s own upbringing and interest in the moment one realises youth is over. Toying with themes of nostalgia, Kirchhoff sought to create a display that suggested teenage environments and squats, through pizza-box props and discarded duvets, without fetishising youth.

Earlier, in 1995, photographer Adrienne Salinger accessed the teenage bedroom for In My Room, a picture book of 43 teen environments. For Spring/Summer 2015 designer Christopher Shannon used the work as a reference. Rather than a place of mundanity, routine and frustration, the teenage bedroom was interpreted in this context as a cultural centre – a sacred space, a hub of dreams, passions and freedom of expression. The impertinence of the scrawled graffiti, the commitment behind the carefully arranged walls and the sense of pride visible in the subjects appealed to Shannon, who frequently toys with everyday elements – clipper lighters, plastic bags, cigarette packets – to create collections that are both political and dryly witty. Shannon drew on similar themes with the invitation for his Autumn/Winter 2015 show, which featured a shot of three male youths reclining in a domestic room, the jubilance of the cluttered posters behind them a firm contrast to the dreariness of the net curtains and littered beer cans.

It is not only the teenager’s room that has captured the imagination of image-makers and designers. Numerous humble hangouts, from the supermarket to the playing field, can be spotted as backdrops to fashion images. Recently, rising image-maker Jamie Hawkesworth used the unassuming setting of Preston Bus Station to make portraits that distanced him from typical polished imagery and won him a reputation for bringing a sense of quiet beauty and unassuming stillness to fashion photography.

Objects featured in this section of Mad About The Boy:

  • (Br)Other By Proxy, Meadham Kirchhoff, Spring/Summer 2013, presentation restaged by Tony Hornecker. Garments courtesy of Philip Ellis, Charlie Porter and Dan Thawley.
  • Jamie Hawkesworth/Adam Murray/Robert Parkinson/Aidan Turner Bishop/Preston is My Paris, Preston Bus Station, 2010. Courtesy of Adam Murray.
  • Christopher Shannon, Spring/Summer 2014, show invite. Courtesy of Charlie Porter.
  • Sharna Osborne, (Br)Other By Proxy, Meadham Kirchhoff Menswear, Spring/ Summer 2013. Courtesy of Sharna Osborne.