I always get so excited right before London Fashion Week, because it means that very soon, if I’m lucky and they invite me again, I’ll get to visit the Meadham Kirchhoff studio and hang out backstage at their show with my camera. I spend the weeks leading up to my visit trying to guess what new print-outs, posters, drawings, and fabric will be covering the studio walls, feeding Edward Meadham and Benjamin Kirchhoff inspiration for that season’s collection. They approach fashion design like a teenage girl approaches her Tumblr: by curating a vast collage of visual touchstones that, taken all together, say something like “Look at this! This is me.” Perhaps this is why teenage girls love Meadham Kirchhoff so much—we have a lot in common. Their workspace looks like the teen bedroom of my dreams, with not a bare inch to be found anywhere, which is probably what it looks like inside their heads. And in fact, when you really study all the pictures pinned on the wall, you start to be able to read them like a map of the designers’ minds.
My most recent visit was last month, as they were gearing up to present their fall/winter 2013 collection, entitled Helter Skelter. When I walked into the studio I was immediately greeted with a life-size print of Courtney Love (above). This image, Edward says, was the starting point of the train of thought that led to everything else you see in these photos—English lace, embroidery, china, ceramics, ballet, the Beatles, etc., etc., etc.—and at the end of the line was this collection, which is darker and more somber than their past few collections. Everything here is girlie and beautiful and tough and rebellious, a combination I find very appealing in both clothing and people.
Meadham and Kirchhoff constantly surprise me. They never repeat themselves and never play it safe, and they can always be counted on to get my brain started down its own daisy chain of inspiration. —Eleanor