Their design motifs for Autumn/Winter 2009 were culled from Louis XIV, XV and XVI, combining patterns filched from Aubusson carpets, Sevres porcelain and Boulle furniture.
The multicoloured, multipatterned world of Basso and Brooke is admittedly an acquired taste. This season, they looked to an equally particular and yet potent mix of Versailles, Vegas and Versace to make their point. Baroque has always been their bag, so naturally enough it was the central theme. Their design motifs for Autumn/Winter 2009 were culled from Louis XIV, XV and XVI, combining patterns filched from Aubusson carpets, Sevres porcelain and Boulle furniture. Coloured in fragile Fragonard shades of aquamarine, sorbet lemon, blush-pink and Bleu de Roi, this was Rococo-a-gogo, squeezing the entire eighteenth century into a single collection (and at times, it seemed, attempting to do the job in a single outfit). Thrown into the blender with these classic references were a touch of animal print, Wedgewood china patterns, neoclassical columns, a hint of embroidery, a few Hermes-alike scarf designs and a digitised ormolu print that looked more 1970 than 1770. Sounds like a dizzying decorative deluge? It was, but somehow, it all managed to work. This kind of riotous mix inevitably calls forth Versace, who after all invented the marriage of Rock 'n' Baroque, and at times the combo of Louis marquetry and leopard-print perhaps strayed a little too close to Casa Gianni circa 1992 for comfort. Likewise Vegas, occasionally rearing its head in overly-enthusiastic decoration and a wayward scrap of pearl quilting that seemed more Cesar's palace than Petit Palais. At the same time, there was something wholeheartedly exciting about seeing something quite so positive, upbeat and exuberant, without a single slither of basic black to be seen - the closest we got was a metallic pewter figured jacquard trench (and that can hardly be described as basic). It was uplifting, not least for the first delicious appearance of Stephen Jones' fabulous millinery: this time modernist 2-D renderings of the classic eighteenth century pageboy ponytails and powdered Pompadour periwigs. If Busby Berkley filmed the life of the Duchesse du Barry, Basso and Brooke would be the ideal costumiers. High praise indeed.