When Benjamin Kirchhoff rose to fashion-world renown, it was as one half of design duo Meadham Kirchhoff, the independent London label whose theatrical opulence and riotously independent spirit found them acclaimed as industry darlings. But, since the brand shut its doors in September 2015, Kirchhoff has established himself as a creative in his own right: a stylist, consultant and creative director working on projects for the likes of Maison Margiela (whose menswear runways he now styles) and Arena Homme+. “In a way, I always worked in styling,” he explains. “All the menswear presentations we did came about as whole concepts rather than as pure garment design. But the official move came accidentally, when I was asked to style for magazines and shows in 2012.”
This new trajectory finds Kirchhoff working alongside those directly inspired by his previous work – indeed, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that Kirchhoff was an early proponent of the new gender liberalism that has swept the runways of late, and his pioneering aesthetic is now defining the contemporary avant-garde. However, since he started working in styling and creative direction, he explains that “I am even more sceptical of the fashion industry; it is more and more questionable.” Counterbalancing the fast-fashion, big-business model that has swept its way through the industry of late, through collaborations with creatives like photographer Gareth McConnell (who he admires for his “purity of thought, process and a truthful mind”), Kirchhoff is now disrupting homogeneity from the inside: his emotive and graceful collaborations subverting a zeitgeist that can privilege disposable novelty above all else, offering a timeless grace as a thoroughly appealing alternative.
Text Olivia Singer