Fembot to Kinderwhore: Meadham Kirchhoff Spring 2014

For spring, Meadham Kirchhoff presented a greatest-hits collection, of sorts. To an atonal slasher film soundtrack, on a runway strewn with roses, here were new iterations of many of their previous heroines: spooky Wednesday Addams clones, febrile 19th-century women, glittering fembot Rockettes. The duo has always been interested in demonstrations of femininity (a previous collection was named A Cosmology of Women) and inspired by an enchanted state of girlish adolescence. Unabashedly performative and archly subversive, this is fashion with a Gender Studies major.

To open, there were inky Chanel-style micro-suits, with box-pleat skirts and cropped double-breasted jackets, somehow hinting at convent girls with dark passions. The mood quickly segued into fembot territory with high-octane snakeskin, introduced first in a pair of golden full-length gauntlet gloves, and further applied in voluminous blouson jackets. All corners of fashion history were hijacked: the seventies; the 17th Century with elaborate Flemish collars; even some kind of Mittel European folk past, as seen in heavily embroidered dirndl dresses.

Nor were their beloved kinderwhores forgotten, with lacy babydoll frocks with Peter Pan collars that were paired with thigh-high stockings. The palette consisted of regal red, black, white and gold, with the bubblegum hues that often predominate in their shows relegated to teddybear-embroidered frame purses.

As ever, conceptual bombast and decadent styling was backed up by exquisite craftsmanship. Sumptuous brocades were paired with spangled bodices in the looks that most directly referenced historical portraiture. There were pieces that would appeal to anyone desiring to buy into the most cultish label currently operating in London.

Final word, however, must go to the hairpieces. In yellow and orange ringlets, pinned up with rows of black velvet bows, they recalled Marie Antoinette, that archetypal bird in a gilded cage. We’ll bet that Meadham Kirchhoff’s fans are far more liberated. 

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