February 19, 2013 London
There were no dancers here, no disco aliens and no spangles or pastel-colored bows. What there was—in the very first look and several to follow—was a broad strip of black vinyl, as suggestively suppressive as a censor's black bar. The vinyl was used even more emphatically elsewhere in the show—one look paired a cropped vinyl jacket with a matching skirt frothed with laser-cut vinyl lace. The technical achievement alone was remarkable. The collection's velvet pieces had a very different texture than did the vinyls, of course, but a similar sense of oppressing weight.
It wouldn't be fair to call this collection joyless. It was too beautiful and moving for that term to fit. Better to describe it as a song of despair, with anguished crescendos punctuated by verses melancholy but unexaggerated. The oddest thing about this show was that occasional straightforwardness—looks such as a silvery brocade coat and gold-flecked black jacquard pants corralled the signature Meadham Kirchhoff expressiveness into clothes pared down and relatively frank. You might even say they were commercial. And with that, the Meadham Kirchhoff world proves once again a very strange place.