If there's one thing four fourteen-hour days of non-stop catwalk shows impress upon you, it's the fact that fashion really is a circus. Edward Meadham and Benjamin Kirchhoff have a counter to that: for them, fashion is a carnival, a performance and - judging by their Autumn/Winter 2012 offering - a hell of a party. Disco music blared as the models marched out, twisting and preening for the cameras and audience in equal measure across two stretches of light-up dancefloor.
The clothes? Multicoloured knits, applique-strewn denims, tinselly tiers and plenty of that romantic, lingerie-look ,lace-inset chiffon they've sold oh-so-much of. There was a metallic blue suit jacket fit for Bryan Ferry in the Roxy wonder years, and a rainbow sequin number that Ziggy Stardust would have adored. Other than the humbug-striped fur stoles, that was about all you saw as the models pirouetted by, each a one-woman whirling dervish.
That's because the clothes are only part of the Meadham Kirchhoff experience, and the part that's designed, after all, to be best experienced away from the high drama of the catwalk. How better to do that then raise the dramatic bar high, have your models fling themselves out at breakneck pace, and deny everyone the chance of poring over what are, always, immaculately crafted and truly one-off pieces.
The seventies over-current of this collection made for an offering that, overall, seemed less preciously-constructed than Meadham Kirchhoff's last two. The pieces themselves will undoubtedly prove less expensive - that's the reality of leopard-woven brocade versus hand-stitched Victorian lace. But Meadham Kirchhoff aren't likely to be greatly influenced by that. They're thinkers rather than salesmen. It does make you wonder where their business will end up, given that London fashion past is full of fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants creatives who never actually manage to produce the pants everyone was itching to wear.
If schlocky seventies was the eye-socker of this Meadham Kirchhoff outing, maybe that was the undercurrent. There was something dark going on at the end, when the Meadham girls turned a little mad house, faces plastered with paint like Leigh Bowery and dresses a ghoulish meringue of multicoloured frippery. They were still dancing, feverishly, desperately - fashion for the edge of the volcano.