Couture’s Knight

Couture’s Knight

I knew one show would triumph for me at haute couture week and indeed Boudicca came through with their concise collection, a fashion knight in shining armous if you will.  Ever since the Chambre Syndicale widened the schedule of couture to include guest members such as Boudicca and Cathy Pill, I can now count on a wider scope of different ideas in couture.  People will often say ‘But this looks like ready to wear?’ about collections such as Boudicca’s or Anne Valerie Hash which I find odd only because it seems people’s idea of couture is confined to dramatic gowns, red carpet worthy dresses, OTT make-up and OTT everything in fact.  This maybe true of the likes of Dior and Lacroix but as I learnt at the Age of Couture exhibition at the V&A, the bulk of what couture customers ordered were day to day suits and tailored pieces as opposed to lavish dresses.  So when we say ‘This is not couture’, are we really saying ‘This is not OTT enough?’

Boudicca however is something of a middleground, NAY, that is too mundane a word…. a cross section, a combination of dramatics and sharp wearable tailoring.  By wearable, I don’t mean everyone is going to be jumping for joy for this but then again, Boudicca have carved out such a niche universe (that sounds like another oxymoron but their website is truly a whole world of escapism with a rich array of literary and visual references) that their clientale would be a select one.  Even so, it continues to confound me why Boudicca isn’t lauded and praised as it should do.  Diane Pernet has longed championed them, yet their collections since 2006 haven’t been reviewed by nor has Suzy Menkes paid them any attention in the latest couture reviews.  Or perhaps it is better this way, for the loyal Boudicca clients, for them to remain a somewhat potent secret.

They slowly incorporated a slight romance into their SS08 RTW collection ‘Nature will find her way’ but for the HC collection, they have again done toned-down romance using a monochrome rose print.  They have also chosen to use dramatic splays of concertina pleats and rosettes to compliment the tailoring which as ever, is precise yet not overly severe.

So deliberate all you want about whether this is couture or not because the fact is that, it is a relevant type of couture that speaks to potential ‘new’ couture customers.  I only wish I was one of them. 

From the SS08 RTW collection ‘Nature will find her way’:

The new HC collection conjured up images of Clarence H White’s photography as well as an etching of Sir Robert Dudley… don’t ask me why!


Leave a comment
  1. jen b.

    2008-01-23 at 5:30 PM

    It’s funny I just posted about their collection and how you and Diane seem to be the only other followers of theirs! It baffles me why they’ve been denied all the press everyone else is getting!

  2. The Clothes Horse

    2008-01-23 at 5:31 PM

    My own thing is: couture shouldn’t be defined by who buys it or what the majority of pieces are used for. Just because couture is bought by millionaires seeking tailed suits, doesn’t mean the purpose of couture is to go into a daily wardrobe. I do agree though it shouldn’t be limited to “OTT” dresses and such, I think couture is all about details and work done by hand; the quality being higher than that of RTW. I Boudicca definitely fits as couture because when you look at the pieces there are such fantastic details and clearly hand-worked master pieces. I do wish I could afford such a wardrobe as well…

  3. WendyB

    2008-01-23 at 5:32 PM

    I like them even though they (a) stole a queen name from me and (b) sold me a jacket that molts feathers. But their ideas are great!

  4. Moodboard

    2008-01-23 at 7:00 PM

    Beautiful Susie. I think I need those white t-strap heels with the side buckle.

  5. Drusilla

    2008-01-23 at 7:32 PM

    You’ve been a long-time Boudicca champion, Susie- I seem to remember posts from 2006 about them, back when I only knew of then via the Vogue UK site (they weren’t at the couture shows yet, I think). But their work is great- moulting feathers notwithstanding.

  6. enc

    2008-01-23 at 7:57 PM

    Perhaps now, our perception of “couture” is one associated with OTT and pomp and circumstance and theatricality‚Äîas you say‚Äîrather than an association with the definition of Couture, which is
    1. the occupation of a couturier; dressmaking and designing.
    With men like Lacroix and McQueen and their peers designing art as couture, it’s easy to see how the associations might have shifted.

  7. enc

    2008-01-23 at 7:59 PM

    I should add that I love the work of Lacroix and McQueen, and all the other haute couturiers.

  8. enc

    2008-01-23 at 7:59 PM

    I should add that I love the work of Lacroix and McQueen, and all the other couturiers.

  9. lady coveted

    2008-01-23 at 9:34 PM

    susie, i love the way you broke this down. i too saw these images and was really inspired by them… but didn’t want to say.. hey look at diane’s blog again! (she’s not even linked to me)
    anyway… it would be nice to have a little everyday couture.. isn’t that what nan kempner was all about?

  10. lily

    2008-01-23 at 9:44 PM

    Yay for Susie for making fashion that tiny bit more understandable!
    I personally like the fact that they have associated their brand with the famous fiery, red-headed Queen!

  11. Jill

    2008-01-23 at 10:54 PM

    I actually like the wearable pieces as much as the over the top art pieces, because even though they may not look as OTT they are just as detail, subtle pleats cuts, beading. So it can be just as inspiring as the things that are heralded as “real couture” garments.

  12. karina

    2008-01-24 at 12:49 AM

    I love this post!!!
    Your pics are amazing

  13. Libertygirl

    2008-01-24 at 1:02 AM

    C’est plus simple: Boudicca aren’t advertisers. Why do you think Armani & Dior are all over the broadsheets?! There is no such thing as fashion editorial (either reporting or shoots) in major publications that isn’t influenced by advertising money. I know Sarah Mower is a big personal fan of Boudicca BTW. I used to adore their London RTW shows – which were always a HOT ticket, almost impossible to get.

  14. StylishGirl

    2008-01-24 at 12:04 PM

    I’ll have to agree with ‘Libertygirl’. Fashion is all about marketing now. 🙁 Long gone are the days when a couturier fame rosed from his care of well done garments and care for customers.
    And this is coming from a marketing graduate 😀

  15. susie_bubble

    2008-01-24 at 1:10 PM

    LLG, thanks for the insight… friends have said similar things… it saddens me that this is the case….
    Oh I am a naive one aren’t I?
    The Clothes Horse: I agree with you…. I just think how we (the people who aren’t couture customers) view the hc collections can often be a little skewed…. haute couture clothes are wide-ranging and I think we just need to accept that there is that variety….

  16. riz

    2008-01-24 at 5:25 PM

    i will always champion Boudicca – they present an alternative beauty, which is, as you describe somewhat obscure, and improaches the realm of the impossible…

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