Zowie Broach and Brian Kirkby knew they had to put on their very best performance to live up to their new standing as the latest great white hopes of London fashion. After winning the support of American Express, the pair, known as Boudicca, is literally following in the footsteps of Alexander McQueen, the last son of the avant-garde to tread the hard road from East End starvation to fashion stardom.
If the audience expected major McQueen-style theatrics along with the new funding, they were disappointed. Broach and Kirkby don’t want any storyline to distract from their extraordinarily precise, almost molded tailoring, with its geometrically exact inserts, flying pocket flaps, fanny-hugging curves, stiff pleats, and voluptuous, rolling flounces. And while there’s something in the rigor of these clothes that marks them as belonging to the same school of craftsmanship as McQueen, the detailslike pleated grosgrain edges and cross-lacingare pure Boudicca.
The label’s best feats for Spring were performed in lustrous white heavy-grade couture cotton: sculptural, high-waisted dresses underlined with insets of black; or an intensely curvaceous white skirt suit with the seaming picked out in flat grosgrain ruffles. Sporty, space suit-inspired jackets, some in crunchy metallic silk shot with Lurex, came with zippers diagonally splicing the front. But the highlights were Boudicca’s skirts. Contrived to offer amazing views from the back, they came tightly fitted over the rump in mathematically exact piecings stamped with studs, or with fan-like tail feathers made of stiff pleats, like some strange modern take on a bustle. Close up, all that classy workmanship is a marvel to behold; but viewed with a less technical eye, it also spells S-E-X. That’s a strong step in the right direction along the rocky road to recognition outside London.