‘Nothing but beauty’ concerned Edward Meadham and Ben Kirchhoff when it came to their spring summer 2013 collection, Meadham said backstage after their show.

Sure enough, the parade of looks shown by these most unpredictable of London Fashion Week designers drew from Madame de Pompadour and ‘50s couture, without a single schoolgirl, Courtney Love-alike or disco queen in sight.

Models in ultrafeminine corseted tops and full skirts tip-toed around the catwalk. They paused at small installations surrounding Chinoiserie floor screens, picking up long-stemmed roses or purple-frosted cupcakes before continuing on their ways.

A magnifying-glass-worthy level of detail ranged across the looks. One short-sleeved black jacket alone featured pearls, 3D gold embroidery, sparkling crystals, white satin bows and a sculptural peplum. Oh, and a dinner-plate-sized hat. It was enough dazzle to make the most showboating matador blush.

There were white denim jackets with corset-like fits, pleated silk skirts with white lace trims, and elbow-length yellow satin gloves that flounced with marabou feathers. Everything that looked printed—like a gilded baroque pattern across skirts and trousers—was woven. 

The effect of so much excess bordered on that given by Wild West saloon girls (or were we the only ones thinking Deadwood?). It was pretty to the point of cloying, adding a disturbing note that only Meadham Kirchhoff ever seem to hit—in a very ‘show us more’ way.

Backstage, the designers could barely get a sentence out amid a crush of well wishers. 

‘This is the most fashion-referenced collection I’ve done… possibly ever, in conscious and unconscious ways,’ Meadham said. ‘But it was just about pretty things. I wanted beauty, basically. Nothing but beauty.’ Consider it done.

 
 
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