It's interesting to watch how a couple of uncompromising designers like Ed Meadham and Benjamin Kirchhoff, working in virtual isolation in the deepest East End of London, are tuning to themes other designers are also teasing out this season: a case of the collective imagination of fashion moving in mysterious ways. You might think a sense of fragile femininity, the fluttery, floaty, and romantic would be anathema to two men who have been pigeonholed as biker goths. But as it transpires, Ed Meadham, in this collection, said he'd allowed his suppressed love of antique Victorian "soft little old dead dresses" to rise to the surface and start to layer itself over the T-shirts, tailoring, and bomber jackets he and Kirchhoff have been working with for the past few seasons.
It wasn't exactly a severe about-turn from the androgynous, deconstructed street look their followers love (a path that has taken the designers closer to the Belgian way than the British), but the addition of fine edgings of lace on a tailored jacket, and a plethora of flyaway chiffon dresses added a touch of something distinctly romantic. "Chaotic pleating" was Meadham's term for the irregular crimping effects in a cream dress. "We even used pink!" he exclaimed, as if that were some kind of transgression. "We were worried what people would think about that."
The new delicacy brought out one stunning runway image: that of clustering velvet bows on a navy tulle wrap, which from a distance looked like a swarm of bees. A closer look at the collection on the rails backstage held the promise that Meadham Kirchhoff will have a lot more to sell in the way of pretty slips and silk polka-dot dresses, and the chance to reach many more women than those who already like the label's hip split-knee pants and parkas.