Meadham Kirchhoff and the Care Bear Carnivale


In a day and age when commercial viability can trump experimentation, it’s nice to see designers like Edward Meadham and Benjamin Kirchhoff refuse to abandon their vision. “They will buy what they want and wear what they want. I’m not going to adapt it. They’ll like it or they won’t. I don’t really care,” said Meadham backstage after showing his spring 2012 collection.
It’s hard to say how the buyers will react to their candy-colored collection, which grew out of what Meadham described as “a plastic pony world.” But there’s no doubt that duo’s runway spectacle, complete with pastel balloon arches, a gaggle of flirtatious dancers who, inspired by Courtney Love’s “Miss World,” video, skipped onto the runway in silk nighties, smearing on red lipstick and powdering their faces with oversized makeup poufs, and a troupe of precious preschool-aged ballerinas, was a crowd pleaser.

Combining playful sexuality with Raggedy Ann-infused innocence, the designers turned out red overall dresses embellished with checkered Care Bears and smiling doily hearts, schoolgirl kilts with knee-high stockings, and flouncy fur skirts and tops in yellow, pink, and minty green. Sweet cardigans were adorned with rainbows, clouds, and vintage cartoons, and feather-tipped platforms gave the looks a boudoir feel.

Just as it seemed the parade was over, Meadham Kirchhoff’s mini ballerinas danced out onto the catwalk to introduce the grand finale: a gold curtain dropped to reveal models perched on a sparkling wedding cake, wearing meticulously sculpted crystal and lace-embellished bodysuits and short-shorts, as well as a mini-Marie Antoinette dress with makeup poufs protruding from its breasts. After the models took their final lap, a sole ballerina climbed up onto the cake and began to spin like the figurine in a music box. Naturally, there was applause. And, as that little girl spun on the cake, melting the hearts of the fashion set, it’s safe to say that saleability was the last thing on everyone’s mind.