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 Style.com 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!