Boudicca are London's last remaining bastion of subversive design. "The industry's boring right now," Zowie Broach said. "Fashion has to be about more than just the clothes." In a phase of standardized commercial showings, audiences welcome anything in the way of drama—always providing the clothes lead fashion somewhere new.

This season, Boudicca took to the stage of the Mermaid Theatre, creating a patch of moorland turf scored with what looked like chariot tracks, and played the soundtrack to the movie Badlands. Onto this melancholy heath strode a deeply hooded, black-clad figure, to open a collection that mixed sporty, protective clothing with sharp, militaristic coats lashed with narrow leather holsters. Called Hunter-Gatherer, the theme appeared to make some mysterious connection between Queen Boudicca's ancient British Iceni tribe and a modern post-apocalyptic dark age. Barbaric fur collars and heroic asymmetric stoles were slung around coats, interspersed with outfits made of slick, translucent hooded jackets and track pants. Among all this, Brian Kirkby's ace way of wielding the scissors produced the occasional amazingly fitted gored skirt that was beautifully in step with fall. That talent can't be obscured, but as a collection, it felt as if Boudicca had wandered back into a depressive place where few will understand.