Tomorrow sees effervescent London label Meadham Kirchhoff’s fourth collaboration with high street giant Topshop hit shelves. Topshop’s website hails Meadham Kirchhoff as ‘London’s Princes of Kitsch’; Vogue refers to the collection as ‘whimsical’, while the Telegraph writes that MK are known for their ‘wacky wares’. Certainly, the house of Meadham Kirchhoff creates wacky, whimsical and kitsch clothing, but that’s not the only way in which we should consider their contribution to the British high street, and indeed, to fashion as a whole.
The collection features 89 extraordinary pieces, some fantastic, some ugly, some beautiful and some downright weird. Apparently, the collection is inspired by an imaginary girl band, The Cherries, and much like the Spice Girls, every Cherry has her own personality. Needless to mention, every Cherry is a rebel.
The core elements of the Meadham Kirchhoff wardrobe are all here: marabou feathers, rainbow brights, kooky platforms, encrusted glitter, frills, fringe, lovehearts, lace, fun fur and eye-popping prints. The motif of choice is the pentacle, which blatantly adorns the majority of the pieces, from glittering buckles on robust gold platforms to boldly emblazoning patchwork trousers.
Of course, the pentacle is not here purely out of happenstance. Rather, the pentacle features due to its overt association with witchcraft and ancient mysticism. Meadham Kirchhoff have long catered for the weird and witchy girl (or at least, she’s the ideal MK muse) and therefore, the pentacle is classic MK fare in that sense. However, the pentacle is fascinatingly a la mode when we consider the current cultural obsession with anything 90s – the pentacle embraces 90s Goth culture and films such as The Craft with unflinching certainty that this is what their respective buyers are after. Furthermore, the chunky pink velveteen school girl hairband with diamante pentacles somehow bridges a fashion divide between weird, girly, tacky and even, dare I say it, chic in some strange way.
To adorn a collection with pentacles for a high street store, as mainstream as Topshop, is a brazen move by Meadham Kirchhoff. Yes, it’s kitsch: one particular piece – a black ankle length dress with black and white Afghan fur fringe punctuated with glinting gold pentacles – quite surely challenges the divide between clothes, and well, costume.
Yet, it is important that Meadham Kirchhof make clothes like this within today’s minimalistic, pristine, put-together obsessed fashion world. It is important that there exists a label who fearlessly pushes boundaries as to what constitutes good taste. It is important that we can term a brand as ‘brazen’ by making clothes that question what is costume and what is not; clothes that blur the distinction between tacky and chic, ludicrous and fabulous, beautiful and ugly.
These are clothes to test your moral fashion compass: how far would you go? How many of these pieces would you wear? And why would you wear them? And why wouldn’t you? Whether we choose to wear these clothes or not (and I am on the fence as to whether I would wear any of this collection…) it is necessary that we recognise the significance of Meadham Kirchhoff’s artistic vision. Theirs should not be merely dismissed as ‘whimsical’ or clothes intended for attention-seeking art schoolers, rather theirs is a vision of intervention, to upset the uniform regularity and monotony of the wardrobe, and then of society.
See the full collection here.