We've come to expect the unexpected of Meadham Kirchhoff. There have been can-can dancing Courtney Love lookalikes, trippy flower installations, prom queens exploding out of cakes, and a blink-and-you'll-miss-it finale-only show that deliberately betrayed the complex craftsmanship of their clothes. But this season, we walked into the Meadham Kirchhoff show space at The Tanks beneath Tate Modern, and found the place devoid of the duo's usual set design hijinks.
It's not that the their backdrops have ever eclipsed the clothes – and with Ben and Ed's intricate artisanal skills and astonishing vision, it's almost offensive to even bring that up – but when the clothes did appear, it was clear that the substance of their work didn't need any add-ons.
What unfolded on the circular runway to Georges Delerue's heartbreaking 'Theme de Camille' was one of the duo's most accomplished and moving collections to date. Largely monochromatic, it dipped into a thirties vocabulary and subversive Edwardiana with sailor knits and frilly black rubber aprons worn over stiff, ruffled white collars. Tiaras and sparkly hair brooches nestled in pin curls, giving an otherworldly charm to raven black velvet dresses and romantic white lace.
It was a high note to end London Fashion Week on, cementing the strange, spellbinding pull of Meadham Kirchhoff's compelling and authentic universe.