Graffiti is art without permission. What began as street art, public expression and territorial marking, has turned into a covetable, respected, and closely followed genre of modern art. With artists like Lee Quiñones, Keith Haring, Jean Michel Basquiat, Os Gêmeos, A1one, and Banksy on the scene (among others), graffiti has developed deeply into a medium of self-branding, irony, comedy, and socio-political statements. Not surprisingly, graffiti has truly become one of the most powerful, prolific, and communicative modes of contemporary art.
Boudicca, run by the fiercely independent, London-based design duo, Zowie Broach and Brian Kirkby, has taken this idea and run with it. Refusing to subscribe to any conventional ideas of fashion, Broach and Kirkby proudly embrace their craft as a conduit for fearless expression.
Anyone who is familiar with Boudicca’s couture collections knows their portfolio is saturated with sharp tailoring, strong, masculine lines, dominatrix-esque images and fetishistic references. Their designs, defined and unapologetic, maintain a sinister elegance reminiscent of a Tim Burton landscape.
Boudicca’s muse comes toward you like some tribal war queen from a parallel universe where the future and past collide. Wode was created along these lines — as a piece of art, rather than a traditional perfume. Inspired by the company’s namesake, Queen Boadicea of the Iceni tribe, who wore a similar indigo dye in battle, Wode is just this. War paint for the modern renegade, Wode arrives in a cold, silver can and sprays out onto your skin and clothes like an electric blue cacophony. It’s hard to believe the color will fade… (It does!)
This disappearing act is an extension of an experiment in transparency executed in Boudicca’s collection at the time. Many of the pieces that season had prints, invisible until the application of the fragrance to the textiles. It is this type of integration of fashion and fragrance that marks Broach and Kirkby as truly forward-thinking creative minds.
Wode, developed with perfumer Geza Schoen of Escentric Molecules fame, is purportedly based on the smell of raw opium. While at first sniff the fragrance is rich with spices and fresh, green accents, it rounds out into a succinctly dry, sweet, woody blend that is both masculine and feminine at once. Soft like powder, yet rough as splinters, the fragrance presents a bit of tension that helps retain its integrity throughout the dry down, where black hemlock extract (the suicidal poison of Queen Boadicea) melds with tonka, amber and labdanum. Infected with an animalic blend of musks, tuberose and leather, Wode lives up to the battle cries of warrior queens and aerosol manifestoes of guerilla street artists everywhere.
Scent defies boundaries, arrives uninvited, and often overstays its welcome. Fragrance does not ask permission.
Why should you?