How do you perfume the entirety of the Tate Modern turbine hall? Nothing is beyond the realm of possibility for the Meadham Kirchhoff boys. They’ve spent six months developing their new fragrance, Tralala, with Penhaligon’s perfume house, and the resulting scent is a soft, hazy breath of floral air, which had people crowding around the fans for a blast of it.
The woozy girlishness was reflected in the collection, perhaps their most accessible to date, which bore all of their trademarks, such as drained pastel hues, tiers of frothy lace, gauzy layers and sugary tweeds — but without the tinsel.
“This season we both felt an incredible calm,” explained Benjamin Kirchhoff (who designs the line with Edward Meadham) backstage, which was remarkably placid post-show. “After a while, we came to the point where we didn’t want to do anything with any bells and whistles, we just wanted to do something pretty.”
And really it was oh so pretty. The first section of the show consisted of confident bouclé suiting and lurex Miss Moneypenny blouses, with only the odd trailing scarf or furry platform boot reminding us of the signature away-with-the-fairies Meadham Kirchhoff muse. But as the looks went on, the career girl got sidetracked into the design duo’s psychedelic world, as the dresses became frothier, the layers more plentiful, the fabrics more whimsical and the embellishment ever more opulent.
Yet despite the rainbow python skirts, the flouncy devoré skater dresses and the top-to-toe gold lurex, there was nothing daunting or inaccessible about this collection; it was beguiling and beautiful and wearable from start to finish.
“We wanted an ease about it — not stuff on stuff on stuff — you still have the layering and the Linton tweeds and the sugary pastels, all of our handwriting, but we wanted it to be about a sense of security. This is simply about the woman and how it feels to wear our clothes,” said Kirchhoff. “[But] unfortunately I’m not a woman, so I’ll never know!”