When we asked Zowie Broach, one half of the British couture duo Boudicca, to explain the designer’s role in the upcoming Just Tell the Truth Festival she said that it was “yet to be defined”. A mysterious yet unsurprising response from a label that have gained notoriety for frequently venturing outside the norms of fashion, the innovative designers once gave up their slot during Paris Couture Week, opting instead to develop an online platform which debated the meaning of the craft itself.
Now, against the back drop of the Just Tell The Truth Festival which reflects the cutting edge of fashion, film, music and art, Boudicca are said to be taking over the ambient Clore Studio inside The Royal Opera House to construct a piece of couture out of the lightest fabric in the world. A prospect complicated enough, in true Boudicca fashion, Dazed discover that the truth is even more so…
Dazed Digital: How did you get involved in the festival / what convinced you to take part?
Boudicca: Well we have worked with the festival’s curator Mike Figgis before on a project curated by Judith King at Belsay Hall, a very masculine, stoic, empty house, inspired by the ancient Greek temples, all found on the outskirts of Newcastle. That was possibly the beginning of this very conversation and invitation in many ways. Mike is a jazz musician at heart and he is also a great teacher. Asking constantly the question of truth and error, how they compose each other. You run with him and look for that moment that is instructive ad yet unknown.
DD: Can you talk about Boudicca’s role in the festival? How will you go about constructing the couture?
Boudicca: The real truth of the word couture would be mostly hand made in its craft and construction whilst based in Paris. So to be truthful here, we are not making couture. We feel more honorable to the answer by replacing the word couture for idea. We are working with two Royal Ballet dancers, Sian Murphy & Thomas Whitehead and then Rosey Chan the art pianist and with them we will be In search of the place in-between their worlds and ours. A place without firm conclusions or required conclusions. The place where multiple possibilities breed before it is fully defined. So it may be a dress or just a line, or a shadow as a note is played. It will be defined in that moment, with as much truth around that moment as is possible.
DD: Couture has always had an air of exclusivity and mystery, why have you decided to display the craftsmanship behind Boudicca to the general public?
Boudicca: Maybe it is hard to believe that anything has either exclusivity or mystery anymore. But to be part of something live is always exclusive to the viewer. That interchange is unique.
DD: Mike Figgis criticised art for becoming a ‘capitalist commodity’. How would you defend the art of couture in this instance?
Boudicca: Well he is right and couture is an accomplice in many ways within the big industry of Fashion. But not all art or all couture for that matter is conceived in that way. That is to depressing a thought. Yet it is hard to be ruled purely by truth, beauty and elegance exclusively.
DD: Two years ago you replaced your A/W08 catwalk show with an online media project. Does Boudicca intend to continue to take part in art platforms outside the norms of fashion?
Boudicca: We have and do. Although the platforms given are again not true ‘art’ platforms. There is the beginning of acceptance of fashion as a practice being allowed more into the domain of art but clearly they are very separate industries at both their commercial and philosophical level that at times may borrow each others platforms for themselves but redefine in their own ways.
DD: What would you like visitors to take from your work at the festival?
Boudicca: To enjoy the exchange and respect the vulnerability, as they watch us crash into a new world, a new environment, a new language.