Meadham Kirchoff and historical inspiration in fashion

A nod to nostalgia has always been a big thing in the world of fashion taking the colours, shapes and styles of times gone by and making reference or playing around with them for the modern day fashion market. Usually the 80’s, 60’s or 50’s are referenced but after the release of Baz Luhrman’s The Great Gatsby, the 1920’s was the fashion era to be revisited. Though that style may be nearly 100 years old, it has become one of the most coveted styles for 2013 and is set to continue into 2014.

Though recently the catwalk has seen styles from even further back in our country’s timeline revisited and reimagined for today. Take Meadham Kirchhoff’s latest two LFW shows for A/W 13/14 and S/S 14 featuring styles from the Victorian, Edwardian and Medieval eras as the basis of their collections. Their A/W collection at LFW saw Victorian and Edwardian styles with a dark twist creating a collection that shunned their bright colours and pattern a plenty trademark. Whereas for S/S 14, monotone colours were still present throughout but juxtaposed against accent colours of bright reds and yellows. They’ve added a playful nature to what is usually seen as a boring/humble time of dress through the use of pattern and childish details like teddy bears on bags and little storytelling scenes embroidered onto dresses. The use of pattern and modern fabrics, see leopard print colours and metallic gold jackets, mix with the modest styles of long flowing skirts and minimal flesh on show outfits creating a collection for 2013 of styles we never thought would be wearable again.

The reason for looking back further than this century surely comes from the two designer’s boredom of today’s fashion industry. That’s not to say the industry is stale but what we look back on are eras from not too long ago, so overused in designer’s collections that there is not much that can be done with them now that people haven’t already seen before. It seems to me that Meadham Kirchhoff are all about creating something new and out of the comfort zones a lot of fashion brands/houses have fallen into. It is an attitude to be applauded and even more so when they manage to pull off this vision so well.

Many have commented on the gothic themes and look of a religious church girl with dead roses strewn on the floor of the catwalk, high necks, long hemlines and darker colours. However, sheer fabrics, bright hair, bright colours and snakeskin details mixed with the ditching of sleeves on the catwalk seems like they were trying to make reference to a good girl who had lost her way. The childish part of her life was over; she’d grown up and started experiencing adulthood. Obviously, provocative clothing and sexual awakenings through the clothing we choose to wear as we get older is nothing new in today’s world but when shown against these rigid, almost uniform styles of the Victorian and Medieval eras, usually thought of as unfashionable clothing, it sets about a stronger reaction. It’s something you don’t expect to see and probably never expected to see, though it may not shock you exactly, it will probably make you question why this has never been done before because it is something so different yet so obvious.

Edward Meadham and Benjamin Kirchhoff have done it again; creating a line of clothing not only beautiful but inspiring, fun, different and crucially something you could pretty much take straight from the catwalk to wear on the street.

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