This is the wall by my pattern table, with images of Leigh Bowery (with the blue face and masks), Hibiscus (with the gold glitter face and beard), Divine, Tasty Tim (with the yellow face), Trojan (red face), and ’70s girls, and some pictures that Tavi sent me (L.A. Knockers). My research this season bounced around constantly. At some point I had a wall entirely covered with images of the amazing Leigh Bowery and Trojan, who were absolutely the most important influences on this collection—but it wasn’t helping my brain to think about them, as what they did and how they looked was so genius that there isn’t really much further one can take it.
My drawings for the bags with teddy-bear faces and monster faces. I wanted them to be really beautifully made classic lady handbags with little lipstick compartments inside and stuff, but on the outside to look a little silly and ridiculous.
Last season I surrounded my work table with balloons; this season it was tinsel and bats.
We made the monster artwork into appliqué patches for the denim pieces in the collection.
I redecorated my office just after Christmas—well, Ben did it for me! It used to be all black, but I couldn’t stand it anymore, so now it is a super-bright orange-red with blue trim. Above my window I stuck the lamb decals that we used last season on all our invitations and T-shirts.
This is leftover tinsel from the tiered-tinsel jackets and trousers in the collection. We applied the tinsel full-length, then I cut it like hair into tiers.
This season I needed a little mental holiday from Courtney [Love] and all my usual grrrl-culture obsessions. I really wanted to go out and party and have fun; however, I am practically agoraphobic, and certainly antisocial, so that didn’t really work out. Even my friends recoil at the merest suggestion that I may go out with them—if I am around more than like four people I tend to get a severe case of bitchface and my personality disappears. I stand in the corner looking really moody and making everyone uncomfortable. So instead of going out in reality, I stayed in and read about all these amazing characters and club freaks who live to create themselves. They dress up to incredible, ridiculous degrees and become their own creations, like glamour terrorists. I wanted GLAMOUR in excess. I watched any and every bit of footage of Leigh Bowery that I could find; and I watched clips from the early-’90s London club Kinky Gerlinky, which looked like the most fun place ever, especially in this day and age when everything is so conservative.
I literally didn’t put pen to paper for this collection until like four weeks before the show. These are the only drawings that I did. Until I drew them I had no idea what we were going to do. But what I drew was almost exactly what we ended up showing.
In my office: lots of images from the ’60s/’70s feminist fashion magazine Nova, and pages of an amazing book of ’70s appliqué psychedelia called Funk and Flare.
A pile of our invitation envelopes on my desk.
When Tavi and I made our little zine, Vomit Pink, for Garage magazine, I asked my friend Louise Gray to contribute some pieces for it. She gave me this—it’s an antique bra that she used as a cloth to remove her makeup. Unfortunately it didn’t make the final edit, but she gave it to me for my birthday, and now it hangs happily in my office.
One of my kitties, Wendy. She always loves to have her picture taken—if ever there is a camera around, she is sure to come!
Teddy bear/monster gloves. What you can’t see in this picture is that they have squishy leather paw pads. I love these!
This is what we intended the shoes to look like, with appliqué motifs of fried eggs (a Trojan reference) and mushroom stars and eyeballs. The shoes were a disaster—they arrived very late the night before the show, and they were so bad that we just covered them all up with glitter. Thankfully, a little glitter goes a long way, so you couldn’t tell how bad they actually were.
This is the hem of a dress that we remade, which is not something I usually do. It was my favorite dress in our fall/winter 2010 collection. Right after that show Courtney came to our studio and left with a load of pieces including that dress, so nobody ever really saw it. I wanted to revive it and give it another life.
My collages for T-shirt artwork.
I drew these pictures to show our hair and makeup team what to do with each model, as each girl’s look was individualized. We had an idea to use prosthetic bald caps with partial wigs sewn on, so that it would look like the models had shaved parts of their heads, but that didn’t work out and we had to scrap the idea backstage at the last minute. It was very stressful for all involved!
We had these fabrics woven for us. It doesn’t show in this picture, but they are all sparkly and holographic, and they have “Meadham Kirchhoff” woven into them, hidden amongst the patterns. I am really pleased with these—it’s our first experience having fabrics woven to our own design.
I love this Steiff teddy-bear-fabric jacket, with glass teddy-bear-eye buttons.
Our assistant Daisy made these earrings from huge sequins.
We call this our mess room. It’s where Daisy glitters, sprays, paints, and generally decorates things.
Here in the mess room we can see some of the stencils that we made to paint biker jackets. We were testing them with different glitters.
Leigh Bowery was a fashion designer/costume designer/performance artist/genius. His best friend Sue Tilley wrote a biography of his life entitled Leigh Bowery: The Life and Times of an Icon, which I implore everyone to read, as it is an incredible, inspirational story. Trojan was Bowery’s best friend, a painter and prostitute. Tasty Tim is a club freak and DJ; and Hibiscus was a member of the late ’60s/early ’70s San Fransisco drag troupe called the Cockettes, who wore tinsel and glitter in their beards.
Denim patch/appliqué monsterrrrrr.
The look board, with pictures of all the styling looks that I tried on Daisy the night before the show.
Some really cheap sunglasses that Daisy glittered and applied false eyelashes to.
The monster appliqué bag. This is so good to see a picture of, as in the images from the catwalk you can’t see his face.
This is an amazing model called Flaviana Matata. I love her; she has been in our last three shows. She runs a charity in Africa to send little girls to school.
Oh god, I fuming love this. It’s a curly-ostrich-feather jacket. It feels sooooo nice and I want it NOW.
I almost had a heart attack because this rehearsal went sooooo sooooo wrong. It was as though nothing we had said to anybody before the show had been heard, and the girls were being instructed to do the most HORRENDOUS moves on the catwalk. I panicked so much I tried to run away; I couldn’t even gather enough perspective to actually correct the nightmare. But Benjamin managed to sort it out so that the show wasn’t the disaster it looked like it was going to be!
Anti-Social—says it all.
Sequin earrings; Nail Rock nail wraps.
I did all of the zig-zag eyebrows myself, which was so scary because the models had this wax over their eyebrows to make it look like they had none, so if I made a mistake it couldn’t be washed off. But I really enjoyed getting involved with the makeup. That’s a Nasir Mazhar headband.
Flaviana Matata and Ajak Deng with red teeth.
Awww, Ajak’s sad face.
Fake fur, sequins, Nasir Mazhar feather tiaras, zig-zag eyebrows.
Appliqué denim with the monster-munch badge. She looks beautiful.
Flashing rings. This model was amazing.
Oh god, I am so happy that there is an image of this! Stickers on hair—it looks so good.
Stickers on hands (I stole that from you, Tavi!).
OK, so the girls at the end of the show with the entirely colored painted faces were a bit regrettable, to say the least. But this looks so amazing.
One of my favorite looks: a brown sequined bustier with a floral-embroidered neon-red shirt.
Fake-fur jacket with cherries. She looks gorgeous.
Freaky girl party.
Curly-ostrich-feather fun with painted-freak faces!
All of our models this season were amazing; they all got into the spirit of the show so well and enjoyed themselves. I was terrified that they would absolutely hate us because of the hair and makeup and the fact that we painted their teeth black, but they were all so kind, reassuring me after the rehearsal that it would all be fine. If you want to see these looks in action, here’s a really good video by Harley Weir on i-D’s website.