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The talk with Zowie Broach from Boudicca was both inspiratonal and fulfilling. She stated that it was okay to think of subjects which have no relation to fashion or art.
The duo who both studied at Middlesex Polytechnic, established Boudicca the label in 1997. In 2002 they showed their first collection at London Fashion Week.
The company was named after mythical figure and female warrior queen Boudicca (Boadicea) of the Iceni people in Eastern England. She was the one that made political decisions without the presence of men.
“We are driven by ideas not money….pure creative drive”- Zowie Broach, March 2012.
The designers have filed for bankruptcy on several occasions. After doing a few catwalk shows they realised the expense of displaying their clothes for a few minutes. They have and are still considering others ways to maintain the staying power of the brand.
Wode: The fragrance
The idea behind the fragrance which sprays blue but quickly disappears related back to Queen Boadicea.
The warrior and her tribe would paint themselves in a cobalt blue paint giving them a mythical look when going to battle.
Queen Boadicea killed herself after defeat to the Romans by swallowing the hemlock which is an extract from Wode.
The fragrance comes in a spray can and when it touches the clothes or skin it is a vibrant blue but eventually it fades and leaves only the scent.
Zowie finished the talk by stating that its important that as designers in a competitive industry its necessary to fcous on strengths and what we WANT to do as designers.
British Street Style
The Teddy Boys
In 1954 a sub-culture called the Teds existed.
They came before the Rock ‘n’ Roll era and wore long jackets dressed in an Edwardian style.
crepe sole shoes
wore drain pipes which had to be both 15 inches wide and the hem and knee
jackets with velvet collars and cuffs
taken on by selling black market goods
classed as hooligan
carried flick knifes which became symbolic
embraced Wild West Style
listened to American music
bright coloured socks
The Mods were clean cut and subtle regarding rebellion. They remained well-dressed while working.
Mods were inspired by French cinema, Jazz and ‘la dolce vita’
They were often seen driving around on scooters.
Style paid very careful attention to detail. Trousers had a low fit with frog mouth pockets and the trouser hems had to be longer than front. It was common for Mods to refuse to let people know where they purchased their clothes from.
A popular brand choice for Mods was Fred Perry as he created breathable garments because they did not likre to sweat.
Influenced by American astronauts, they wore regimental battle-wear.
They wore Levi jeans, Dr Martens, braces, ginghm button-down shirts, mohair suits with hankerchiefs and tartan. The size of the tartan worn determined the status in a skinhead crew.
Their style was influenced by the arrival of the Windrush ship from the Caribbean which brought in West Indians to do labour work. They came wearing porkie pie hats.
The short hair was a style statement which often meant short tempers.
By Royal Appointment
British style is often defined as classic country clothes and makes you think of the old England style and the Queen.
Designers such as Dolce & Gabbana made ‘Royal’ dressing fashionble.
The company was founded in 1854 by John Barbour who invented the first motorcycle jacket. State of the art technology and functionality are the most important factors in their designs.
Barbour if the number one choice for Royals.
The Queens fashion consist of:
The design has been associated with the Royals for 150 years. Queen Victoria wore a tartan dress at the age of 16.
Tartan is a traditional British material with great quality. It is used by British designers like Aleaxander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood.
The latin word translates into ‘watershield’ and was originally created for military purposes. The company was founded by John Emery in 1881 and began with the famous trenchcoat. The brand was essential during the first World War.
In Britain the fashion is seen as radical and rebellious. Those responsible for this description are designers Vivienne Westwood John Galliano and Alexander McQueen.
Westwood introduced the punk style in the 1970s and her goal was to break the rules.
She worked alongside Malcolm McLaren and they opened SEX on Kings Road.
They made controversial clothing and on the streets people were arrested for wearing provocative t-shirts.
One of the most successful items was a pair of pants with a strap between the legs
A Cut Above: The tailored look
British style is religion in Japan and Paul Smith is the God. He is the most successful British designer in Japan
Paul Smith has taken a colourful playful approach towards tailored suits. He uses bright prints both inside and outside of suits along with the British flag and flowers.
The most famous street in London providing tailored garments was founded by Henry Poole. Tailored suits are exported worldwide.
The word ‘Savile’ means 3 piece suit in the Oxford dictionary. ‘The suit is the potent symbol of authority’.
Tailoring has been a tradition in London for many centuries
In the 1930-40s when the Golden Age of film existed Hollywood stars were drawn to Savile Row.
Fred Astaire was a Hollywood entertainer who wore Savile Row tailored suits while dancing.
Until the 1960s tailored suits were worn by all working class.
Burton tailoring bought tailoring garments to the mass market.
All fabrics were woven in Britain for improved quality and remain to true British style.
James Bond was and still is a symbol of being well-dressed and elegant. The look was originally created on Conduit Street.
Michael Caine was another actor whose costumes were often tailored suits.
Douglas Hayward designed the suits for Michael Caine in Alfie and the Italian Job (1969).
Savile Row suits go through a long process. It is necessary for the designer to get the customers ‘blueprint’ which, includes the measurements, customers interests etc.
the fabric is cut by hand
minimum of 8 weeks to produce
In the 1980s european designers such as Giorgio Armani designed suits to become more relaxed than structured. Theremoved the dhoulder pads and left the jacket to fit loosely.
In the 1990s designers like Ozwald Boateng, Richard James and Timothy Edwards made tailoring ‘cool’. Suits became slimmer with slanted pockets which elongated the body.
The video explores looks and trends which define British style from catwalk to high street.
In the UK the majority of fashion is purchased on the high street and high-end fashion is inspired to the elite.
The biggest provided of high street fashion is Topshop which belongs to the Arcadia Group. They remain one of the most successful in this fast paced environment because they provide looks straight from the catwalk but at affordable prices.
Collaborations with high fashion designers and models have increased their success, knowing what the public want and responding to it.
The Topshop Loves Kate Moss collections proved to be successful because she was a high profile model whom many young people aspired to be in both life and style.
- The launch of the collection saw Kate Moss posing as a mannequinn in the window of Topshops flagship store on Oxford Street. Many fans gathered outside to get a glimpse of the model.
Though Topshop leads the way it was originally Mary Quant in the 60s who inspired the idea of ‘teenage-wear’. Then it was non-existent and she used the then rare PVC in her designs.
” …not interested in the cost of a garment but how it makes the wearer feel”- Ossie Clark
Ossie the ‘master cutter’ a succesful designer of the 60s he collaborated with Celia Birtwell who was a print designer. His catwalks consisted of loud music and dancing models.