I have a love-hate relationship with Meadham Kirchhoff. Much of the time, love the collections: the inspiration, the frou-frou, the playfulness and the masterfully distressed contradictions and cut. But hate, no, loathe, the ‘trying to prise a ticket from the PRs hands to get into the show’ routine that’s the usual LFW catwalk seasonal stand-off. Trust me, at this time in our lives, (if we’re not Harajuku girls) we can do without the histrionics and the pre-show jumping-through-hoops drama. Save the spectacle for the catwalk.
Edward Meadham and Benjamin Kirchhoff created a S/S’14 collection that was not only plenty assured but lots of fun. Sure, there were nods (natch) to the Quaker-style, grown up dolls with dirndls, froth and lace to boot but, and this is important, break down that distinctive Meadham Kirchhoff Jacobean come hither catwalk styling and we have some quite incredible, workable pieces that are worthy of Paris couture rather than London quirk.
So, when I learned that the duo were to be developing a fragrance with Penhaligons (who have supported them in terms of fragrance scenting their shows for the past nine seasons), the contrast of British tradition with an out-there schematic approach to design enthralled me. Throw in the mix the talented and masterful perfumer, Bernard Duchaufour, and it was bound to intrigue.
Oh (tra) lala. It’s like drowning in plush velvet while a mix of crushed opium and macaroons is piped through the air. There’s the feel of a deserted boudoir bar with the remnants of whiskey, port and good times still clinging valiantly to the opulent soft furnishings. The slightly stale smell from expensive women’s perfume still pervading the room. Both illicit and seductive. I love this.
It’s rare that a perfume can grab me from the off. This did it. Like its sister siblings Daphne (Comme des Garcons), Dior’s Poison and the original Dolce & Gabbana (oh, what a great one and how far it has plummeted), Tralala is testimony to the fact that great vision, no holds barred creativity and a talented perfumer DO mix. It’s a wonder businesses don’t do it more often but damn, there’s that infernal ‘commerce’ always hammering at the door like an uninvited Black Rod.
The mix is more than heady. A sumptuous OTT concoction that’s definitely not for everyone. It reeks of sensuality without being all coy seductress on yo’ asses. A perfume for grown up women who like to make a statement but also like laughing. It demands a strength of personality that’s willing to go counter-culture.
Tralala’s juice is as varied as it is distinctive. Saffron, whiskey, ambrette seed and green violet weave through carnation. Orris, tuberose and ylang ylang are layered over soft and supple leather while resins and balsams are dusted with the sensuous and powdery note of heliotrope.
Say Meadham Kirchhoff, “We do not have a signature but rather a handwriting. We like to tell stories in different ways.” Boys, this beauty defines and adorns your approach. I’m wearing it come LFW (even if I’m left, standing outside that show).
Tralala will launch exclusively at Harvey Nichols on the 21st of April and in the UK at Penhaligons’ boutiques and online at www.penhaligons.com on the 5th of May. (TBC). Tralala 100ml Eau de Parfum £150
Catwalk images of Meadham Kirchhoff’s S/S’14 show by kind consent of www.style.com