In the aftermath of Meadham Kirchhoff SS14 menswear presentation, we present an exclusive film by Alexander Ingham Brooke and an interview with Benjamin Kirchhoff. Together the film, Ingham Brooke’s personal account of the day and Kirchhoff’s interview tells the story of a collection that explored ideas concerning ritualistic undressing, Soviet Russia and male vulnerability.
Alexander Ingham Brooke
“I arrived at the Meadham Kirchhoff show in a hungover haze and the grey muggy British summer seemed to put an odd spin on everything. I was annoyed with the space as it was too small and everyone was flapping fans and itching. I decided the film needed to be shot in this haze, so I used a special filter to corrupt the footage. Paul Antony provided a genius soundtrack and we chopped and screwd’ Marin Marais' Sonnerie De Saint Geneviève…it’s all part of the Meadham Kirchhoff fantasy. This time there where lots of boys in see through rubber trench coats and everything felt glazed and sweaty. Matryoshka dolls were painted on boots and objects that might become animated like Cartoons were screaming In this folly. I saw the most intriguing man with a stuck on fringe looking like some sort of plucked Sparrow, so I decided to make the film about him.”
Dazed Digital: I want to start by asking you about the smell that filled the show space this season. What scent was it?
Benjamin Kirchhoff: English Fern by Penhaligon's.
DD: Why is smell such an important element for you?
Benjamin Kirchhoff: Creating an olfactile environment helps to tell a story - apparently most of our memory is locked in our nose.
DD: What smell has had the biggest influence on you?
Benjamin Kirchhoff: Mmm - My mom used to wear Shalimar by Gurlian, but it doesn't smell the same anymore… The smell of motor oil and camphor always reminded me of my childhood; my dad had a garage in our back garden.
DD: Moving on to the presentation, can you talk me through the performance element of this season. This idea of strange ritualistic undressing…
Benjamin Kirchhoff: The boys were undressing as a way to conform, it may have come as obtrude but I wanted to have the element of disrobing as a way of making yourself vulnerable, by exposing more of oneself and becoming a martyr.
DD: Why is this performance aspect so important to your work?
Benjamin Kirchhoff: I don't know… but I don't know how else to do this, because I see passed the clothes and because I believe in a creative vision that we've worked 10 years to express.
DD: What direction did you want to take with the casting this season?
Benjamin Kirchhoff: A classic cold and chiseled beauty against an odd, at times innocent look.
DD: Moving on to the collection, what were some of your references this season?
Benjamin Kirchhoff: I looked a lot at soviet Russia, at Quentin Crisp, at childhood clothes and at things we did before that were totally ignored so I thought I would do them again.
DD: Can you talk me through the film that was screened during the presentation?
Benjamin Kirchhoff: Yes - there was a mix of elements from the former DDR, some old Russian cartoons, some bits of a film we did back when we first started in 2002.
DD: How important is it for you to create a world and a context for your work?
Benjamin Kirchhoff: I don't know any other way. It's not a matter of how important it is - that is just how it comes, that is how it starts….