Entering Boudicca space at Vyner street, 45, I suddenly remembered why this address sounds familiar – designers used to host Halloween events here, for which they invited their fans to participate and show their baking skills in creating craziest cakes for the occasion. Results were unpredictable and sometimes impressive – cakes in shapes of human-size skeleton, broken hearts, and monsters. Boudicca fans have quite an imagination.
This time the designers Zowie Broach and Brian Kirkby were showing their fall-winter 2013-14 collection for only two days. Brian himself was absent today but the moment you enter their studio Zowie’s energy overwhelms you – she’s the perfect reflection of Boudicca’s values, strong and confident, yet delicate. While she’s discussing her admiration of Ukrainian politician’s Yulia Timoshenko style and strength while joggling between clients and buyers we have a moment to look around and explore. The kitchen and dining area of the studio and the showroom are connected by a wide hall where Boudicca’s artifacts create the weird and wonderful world – the mannequin wearing ‘Miss Placed’ sash, the white horse statue, pictures, and, most tellingly, endless bookshelves. There are 20th century photography books and Ingmar Bergman by Tashen, Max Ernst collages, Nabokov’s ‘Lolita’ next to the ‘Godfather’, Herb Ritts, Albrecht Durer, Gerhard Richter, Cocteau, Man Ray, Godard, psychology studies and Playboy, National Geographic magazine and books on Victorian sculpture and dolls and, of course, books on the queen Boudicca herself.
As the model tries on an ivory silk dress with leggings which feature crystals and cut-outs around the feet, we continue our talk about Russia and Ukraine. Zowie visited Moscow once – her memories of it are almost of a fairy-tale, with Kremlin and Russian bridal ceremonies on the Red Square, snow and bridges.
Next dress, a classic Boudicca number crafted from solid black silk, features a long fringe on one side of the hem of the dress – which creates a flowing effect while in motion. Fall-winter Boudicca has a new, calmer feeling. There is a perfectly light black cape, matte chiffon, thin ribbon around the neck, long silhouette, a weightless, slightly transparent white top with layers of chiffon; asymmetric silk dresses. Even jackets don’t have the edginess of the classic Boudicca we know, but there’s a new-found lightness, even airiness to it. Combined with impeccable tailoring, amazing feel of fabrics and clever, unexpected details, it gives the whole idea of, let’s simplify it, ‘strong but feminine clothes’ a desired commercial potential that still leaves Boudicca’s followers happy with the direction the brand goes. But don’t consider Zowie and Brian going mainstream – in their case simple does not equal plain.
Photography by Ekaterina Bazhenova