Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Psychologically Damaged Clothing

Looking like the lost boys of East London the models of Meadham Kirchhoff gazed forlornly at photographers surrounded by piles of black bin bags, chicken wire and drooping vigil candles. Ghostly palour and sunken cheeks, these boys with their wartime garb and haunted eyes looked like the slain of the Great War, with the addition of a few dandyish features. Meadham Kirchhoff shows are visually overwhelming and it is quite difficult to decipher the clothes beneath the styling. I say this as a compliment rather than a critique. To wear Meadham Kirchhoff you have to have an eye for style. An eye that can dissect a garment from the props and accessories vying for your attention. An eye that the majority of British newspaper hacks do not possess.

This collection features what one would expect from a menswear label: tailoring, shirts, coats and shorts. Menswear is trapped in a Postmodern cycle. Garments are given a new twist, a reinvention, but no one can create a new menswear staple. Such inventions are rare in womenswear and extinct in menswear. Everything has been done and said before. Luckily some designers are masters of reinvention and this panegyric label can be applied to Meadham Kirchhoff. We are offered an embroidered jacket and coat, a trend I had never thought of for men but one that works surprisingly well. Black ciré tailoring which has popped up on menswear runways before, but these jackets and coats have a military rather than Matrix feel. They are to be worn to a sinister Berlin sex club. Jackets are elongated, turned inside out and trousers are shortened and paired with leggings. In short these menswear staples have been fucked with to give us something not entirely new but something beyond recognition, like Rose McGowan's face. Smocks become a male friendly dress, essentially a long t-shirt worn with masculine clothing. Some hit the knee while more advanced gender benders can opt for the ankle grazing cut. The base of these smocks have been laser cut to give the impression of tatty Rorschach lace. Perhaps my favourite piece from the collection are the waist tie trousers. Dull of me I know but if I owned a pair I would wear them threadbare. They are trousers with an identity crisis and I adore psychologically damaged clothing. There was not much colour for a Meadham Kirchhoff collection, just a dash of mustard spice. A deviation from most menswear shows as it appears if you have a penis you will be wearing orange next Autumn.

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