Transvestites and Superfreaks backstage at Meadham Kirchoff's London Fashion Week AW12 show
We've learnt now to expect the unexpected from Meadham Kirchoff, so I wasn't as surprised as I could have been earlier when I entered the backstage area of their A/W12 show (courtesy of Bumble and bumble) and walked into a sea of supernatural-looking models, the air thick with glitter.
As MAC's make up artist joked, it's really "something everyone at home can wear!" Or not. The influence for the look was completely Ed Meadham's creation ("Ed dreams it all up and then we bring our skills to it," she said); a cross between Linda Evangelista during the 90s and the extravagant make up of people like Boy George, extreme transvestites and drag artists like Divine.
The result of this? Models sported individually designed hairstyles, by Bumble and bumble headed by James Pecis. "There were drawings for every one, the boys had a very specific image of what they wanted for each model," James explained. Originally there were supposed to be prosthetic pieces going across the front, but due to time constraints they were abandoned (much to the clear regret of James).
To create the huge nest of hair, the team used hair powder "to create lots and lots of texture" and then backcombed it, spraying classic hairspray on each section. Taking the front section back, they sprayed it with extra strength hold hairspray and pressed it down to the head "super, super tight". They then used the Babyslis Pro hairdryer's turbo button to blast it down, and clipped and taped on yellow and orange hairpieces made from wigs, and sometimes spray painted the bouffants themselves.
Each make up look was individually tailored to the models, using MAC pro products - eyebrows were stenciled on with gold glitter, scribbled over with black pencil, or covered with bright primary colours, which were also painted all around eyes, down noses and over ears.
Four models cast as the 'superfreaks' were coloured in green, red, blue and yellow paint and then sprayed with aerosol cans of glitter (I got covered in the green as I went past during application).
An absolute mishmash of techniques, but the most fun backstage atmosphere so far, with the crew clearly loving the creativity the show allowed, despite the mess (one of the make up artists lamented that her kit would never be the same again). And for the girls with shows to go to straight after? They were ready with the MAC cleansing oil to get it all off as soon as they stepped off the catwalk.
After last year's success with the kitschy Meadham Kirchoff SS12 Nail Rock Nail Wraps, we weren't surprised to note they were using some this year, printed with colourful cartoons. No doubt we'll be able to find those in Topshop come winter!
Check out the runway report here at Catwalk Queen.