Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Fanciful Whimsy on the Runway
Spring 2013 RTW Collection
Review by Sarah Mower
Porcelain-skinned rococo milkmaids with ribbons and jewels in their hair—images drawn from the circle of Madame de Pompadour, actresses painted by Gainsborough and nymphs by Boucher—merged with the beaded extravagance of the height of Paris couture in the sixties. An intricately detailed vision of dainty, panniered shepherdesses picking their way through a landscape of de Gournay–painted silkscreens, on pointy embroidered shoes in homage to Roger Vivier. The Meadham Kirchhoff show brought tears to the audience. ToEdward Meadham, the escape into romance opulence is the most radical reaction to the circumstances of the times he can think of. “I just wanted to concentrate on this idea of beauty,” he said. “And to avoid anything to do with my life in Dalston, or subculture, or being subversive and grumpy—all the things people say we are. It was my absolute dream to have something as beautiful and opulent as possible, without a point, or petulance. It’s all the things I wanted to do, with all the money I don’t have.”
Meadham, always a man of few words in the exhaustion after shows, has never been more articulate and forthcoming about what drove him and Benjamin Kirchhoff to pull this extraordinary collection out of nowhere, on practically no resources. The music at the beginning hinted at the struggle: first, birdsong, then a line of dialogue from A Streetcar Named Desire, interrupted by a snatch of the harsh, cynical refrain of Pink Floyd’s “Money.”
It was poignant, for what more could these two do if they did have money? The pair had mustered the makings of every material, from quilted silk to specially woven jacquard, to fragile dotted voile, lace beaded embroideries, and jeweled stockings to make into intensely realized silhouettes of pannier dresses, corsets, bloomers, leggings, and eighteenth-century jackets. What they did almost reached the realms of couture, and—in the way it insisted on poetry against the odds—stood fully in the line of London creativity that stretches back through the early, broke collections of Alexander McQueen and John Galliano that launched their reputations. Meadham and Kirchhoff’s talent, imagination, and integrity made this show an unforgettable landmark of spring 2013.
So what do you think? hmmmm... a good halloween costume perhaps?