* The acceptance of Boudicca, the British fashion label, for the prestigious haute couture season in Paris is a radical step towards modernising and revitalising the ancient French business, writes Hilary Alexander
Boudicca, the avant-garde, London-based fashion brand, has been invited to show at the prestigious haute couture season in Paris in January, 2007.
The acceptance of Boudicca, the brainchild of life and business partners, Brian Kirkby and Zowie Broach, is a radical step towards modernising and revitalising the ancient French couture business which has seen its clientele diminish and its couturiers dwindle since its heyday in the 1940’s and 1950’s.
Boudicca is only the fifth British fashion label accepted for the Paris couture season since the industry was founded by an Englishman, Charles Frederick Worth, the imperial dressmaker, in the mid-to-late 19th century.
Previous British designers who have wielded the golden scissors as Paris couturiers are John Galliano, who next year celebrates his tenth anniversary as couturier at the house of Christian Dior ; Alexander McQueen and the Welsh-born Julien Macdonald who have both previously served as creative directors of the house of Givenchy ; and the knitwear designer, Adam Jones who is also an "invited member" of the industry’s governing body, the Chambre Syndicale de la haute couture.
Boudicca, named for the feisty Queen of the Iceni who rebelled against the Romans in AD60, was established by Kirkby and Broach, both fashion graduates of Middlesex University, in 1997. Fiercely uncompromising, the duo have always followed a stark and individual route in which emotion and ideas are as important, if not more important than being commercial.
Early shows in London established their credentials as cutting-edge fashion revolutionaries with an eye for precision tailoring and de luxe, unconventional detail.
Their acceptance to show in Paris in January as "invited members" was announced by the Board of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture yesterday afternoon.
"We are obviously thrilled. This will allow us to focus our business and take haute couture into a modern sphere," Zowie Broach said.
"The ready-to-wear market is now swollen and it is impossible for us to compete. What we want to do is provide a pret-a-porter de luxe experience for people who desire clothes which are rich in ideas, rich in fabric and rich in construction."
She said Boudicca’s first couture offering was likely to be a capsule collection with individual designs costing between £5,000 and £10,000.
"We are not going into this to do huge ballgowns. There will be elements of the old haute couture salon, but above all, it will be beautiful and modern."