Meadham Kirchhoff are masters of storytelling and this season they took us on a journey that sat somewhere between Victorian matron and fairground freak. Titled 'Helter Skelter', the fantasy was kicked off from the get go, with a sweet scent supplied from Penhaligon clinging to the air and the repetitive orchestral drone of a fairground ride blaring out into the Tanks space of Tate Modern.
Stepping away from their usual clashing palette choices, this season the duo's collection was monochrome. The only splashes of colour were provided by the cupid bow red lips and nails, and bejewelled love hearts which adorned the model's tightly packed curled hair.
Stiff white cotton coats with black patent panels gave way to veiled sailor outfits matched with knee high lace socks. Quickly, these were replaced by Victorian maids, Mary Poppins-like in appearance, with frilled bibs and stiff white collars and cuffs. Yet the designs didn't trap themselves in the era and felt modern, with laser cut PVC replacing chantilly lace and metallic pointed pumps adding punch.
Snaking in and out over the cavernous circular space, the finale line of models appeared to be riding the helter skelter of Edward and Benjamin's gothic fairytale. But while the story was enchanting as always, the pieces seemed more rooted in reality than usual. This collection was easier to translate than previous shows and will have a real life off the catwalk and out of the story book.