"Please do not touch the artwork," read the signs lining the central installation of Brian Kirkby and Zowie Broach's Romantic Museum collection for Boudicca at Bumble and Bumble, which was a talcum-powdered runway. This bookish, London-based team is known for their austere and artful collections, but for their second outing in New York, they displayed a softer side. Military references are a signature of Boudicca, since the line is named after a warrior queen, but overall, the mood was lightened by airy eyelet and floral prints.
To a clap of soundtrack thunder, Heather Marks opened the show in a black eyelet dress buckled under the bust and covered with tassels. A white glove caught in a harnessed epaulet hung over one shoulder. Body-constricting devices were limited to neck ruffs, wide obi belts, and a slender gold metal circle tied in a blue bow at the back of a waist. Laser-cut leathers kept company with intricately pieced eyelets. A digitally printed rose-pattern damask complemented a floral-print leather that was worked into a skirt and paired with a light-blue puff-sleeve blouse (a neat twist on Victoriana). A black palette was livened up with the layering of a grayish yellow, blue, and metallic ruby red.
Blame it on the sensitive assemblage artist Joseph Cornell, the designers' inspiration, but the mood was delicate: The finale pieces featured pleated skirts and falls that had a tutu quality. But separates like culottes and a chic pocket-front coat, even the perfect little black dress, were surprisingly accessible and, of course, chic.