In the few years they’ve been designing together, Edward Meadham and Benjamin Kirchhoff have become fashion darlings, as beloved for their gorgeous, candy-colored clothes as for their theatrical runway shows that gleefully celebrate all things girly. Models walk through archways studded with pastel-colored balloons, stomp the runway in intricately layered outfits to Hole songs, take out little flowered compacts and re-apply their lipstick on stage, or—dressed as ballerinas—twirl atop gigantic (and sadly inedible) cakes. Their shows are so dazzling that audience members sometimes break down in tears over the whole frilly spectacle of it all.
But Meadham and Kirchhoff are sending up all that sugar-and-spice stuff, too. For their Spring 2012 collection, they said they wanted to take “the girl on the cake”— the female stereotype of starlets, beauty queens, and princesses—and make her so over-the-top that she became subversive. And sure enough, if you look past the sticky-sweet surface, there’s something hauntingly off about the MK girl’s look. Her dress is acid-bright and a size too small, her tiara’s askew, the lace rots off of her sleeve, and her Manic Panic’ed hair looks like she got caught standing under the Care Bears in a rainstorm. She knows that you can wear fluff and frills without being defined by them, and she’s too cool to care that last night’s mascara is trailing down her cheeks.
Here, some Meadham Kirchhoff-inspired outfits for the punk rock princesses and bedraggled beauty queens in all of us.