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Boudicca’s Bet

LONDON — So what happens when a small and groovy east London label joins forces with an international corporate behemoth? Tune in this Thursday for the answer.<BR><BR>Boudicca, the quirky — and cerebral — tailored clothing label...

LONDON — So what happens when a small and groovy east London label joins forces with an international corporate behemoth? Tune in this Thursday for the answer.

Boudicca, the quirky — and cerebral — tailored clothing label designed by Zowie Broach and Brian Kirkby, will make its New York debut at the Soho Grand Hotel, thanks in part to corporate godmother American Express.

The New York show is the first major step Boudicca is taking after winning a sponsorship — and partnership — deal with AmEx in the U.K. in the summer of 2003. Boudicca replaced Alexander McQueen as part of an AmEx U.K. project aimed at promoting the U.K. fashion industry.

Broach said it’s the right time to show in the U.S., Boudicca’s largest market, which generates 70 percent of sales. “It’s time to solidify our relationships with our American customers. The core values of our company are time and intimacy, which is why we want to come to our biggest clients this season,” she added. Boudicca’s largest and longest-standing U.S. client is Barneys.

The line, which is named after the queen of the Iceni, or native Britons, who during the first century A.D. revolted against the Roman army, also sells at Nordstrom, Wyn in Las Vegas and Seven in New York.

The duo’s design philosophy is “form follows emotion,” and the fall collection is called Animate. “To enliven and inspire,” said Broach, adding the collection is filled with Boudicca’s sharp tailoring, lots of layering and items like high-waisted coat jackets paired with low-waisted skirts.

Projects over the next three years include a signature fragrance and a traveling fashion and art exhibition. The pair hope for revenue growth of 15 to 20 percent. Kirkby, a Manchester native, and Broach, who is from the south coast of England, met in Italy, where both were working. Partners in business and in life, they started showing Boudicca as part of London’s off-schedule shows in 1997.

This story first appeared in the February 5, 2005 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.