So many designers are chasing the dark, street, biker vibe this season that it requires someone who really believes in it full-time to make something above, beyond, and spine-tinglingly special of it. In London, it took Ed Meadham and Benjamin Kirchhoff to figuratively get on their bikes and drive the possibilities through conceptually structured bombers and split-knee pants all the way to gold military embroidery and jeweled trousers. Extraordinarily, it then ended up with Manolo Blahnik boots entwined with what almost looked like the contents of an estate jewelry vault. "It is," they say, "a metaphor for insane desire."

Meadham and Kirchhoff have been on a slow burn for the past few seasons, developing frayed jeans, destroyed lace, and street-elegant jackets in sync with, and sometimes ahead of, the likes of Christophe Decarnin at Balmain and Andreas Melbostad at Phi. It takes time to refine something as difficult to invent as an anatomically shaped, articulated pant, but this season their research came to fruition. The fold-back openings at the knee have now taken on a new hybrid dimension, creating the illusion of boots linked to cycling shorts. As for the gold and silver rococo embroidery, the designers were careful to steer the effects well clear of bling-tastic tackiness by balancing the aesthetic with frayed-edge cheesecloth shirting, felted striped Breton sweaters, and asymmetrically cut black bombers. They may have been in their dark place for years, but this season is Meadham and Kirchhoff's moment to shine.