Boden shoppers slam its autumn collection


Boden has come under fire from shoppers after unveiling items from its latest autumn collection.

Thanks to its colourful peasant dresses and classic styling, founder Johnnie Boden has attained something close to cult status in the homes of middle-class fashionistas. 

But the quintessentially British brand, worn in the past by the likes of the Duchess of Sussex, Samantha Cameron, Michelle Obama and Susanna Reid, has received a distinctly marmite response to its new catalogue.

Long-standing customers took to Facebook to complain about its use of synthetic materials like polyester and viscose as opposed to natural wool and cotton, and many bemoaned the accompanying high price tags.

Boden’s Elise Pleated Midi Dress, priced at £160, which features a vibrant chevron pattern came in for criticism from loyal customers

Boden has come under fire from shoppers after unveiling items from its latest autumn collection. Above is criticism for its Elise Pleated Midi Dress, priced at £160

Boden has come under fire from shoppers after unveiling items from its latest autumn collection. Above is criticism for its Elise Pleated Midi Dress, priced at £160

One shopper moaned about a bright ‘migraine inducing’ psychedelic print, while another expressed alarm about a neck line that would ‘make my bust look like a bag full of fighting cats!’

Boden’s new £160 Helen Sparkle Dress, described as having a Multi Metallic Stripe, drew ire for its vivid colours and chevron pattern.

One Facebook user quipped: ‘My grandma had a similar bedspread in the seventies.’ 

Another asked: ‘Why is this £160? Is it made of decent material? No. Is it a designer make? No. Is it stylish? No. Can someone please explain why a viscose, oversized, machine woven scarf is £160??’ 

A third said: ‘From the comments it seems like this really is a Marmite dress…. Personally I hate it!’

Boden's new £160 Helen Sparkle Dress, described as having a Multi Metallic Stripe, drew ire for its vivid colours and chevron pattern - with one Facebook user likening it to a 70s bedspread

Boden’s new £160 Helen Sparkle Dress, described as having a Multi Metallic Stripe, drew ire for its vivid colours and chevron pattern – with one Facebook user likening it to a 70s bedspread

Long-standing Boden customers were unimpressed by the Helen Sparkle Dress, which is 95 per cent viscose and 5 per cent metallised fibre

Long-standing Boden customers were unimpressed by the Helen Sparkle Dress, which is 95 per cent viscose and 5 per cent metallised fibre

The dress did attract some fans – however even they had reservations, with one admitting: ‘I love this dress…. however… if my bum was in that dress with that chevron pattern… think I might get aeroplanes trying to land on me!!’ 

Boden’s £95 Elise Pleated Top, which is described as having an ‘Eccentric Chevron’, also triggered a strong response. 

While some likened its design to a piece from the luxury label Missoni, one snapped: ‘Enough to give you a migraine!’

The 'vintage flavoured print' of the new Nell Pleated Dress, priced at £120, also failed to generate the desired response

The ‘vintage flavoured print’ of the new Nell Pleated Dress, priced at £120, also failed to generate the desired response

One customer scathingly remarked: 'That neckline would make my bust look like a bag full of fighting cats!' while another wrote: 'Dearest Boden, you have lost the plot'

One customer scathingly remarked: ‘That neckline would make my bust look like a bag full of fighting cats!’ while another wrote: ‘Dearest Boden, you have lost the plot’

The Elise Pleated Midi Dress, priced at £160, which features the same pattern also came in for criticism. 

‘Could not wear this, it looks too much like the visual disturbance I get when a migraine begins,’ one customer commented.

Another raged: ‘Get a grip Boden ! This is horrific, like a dreadful 70s throwback!!’ 

While many customers were fans of this rainbow-striped loungewear, many criticised the £80 price tag of the 'knitted joggers' - which are 33 per cent viscose, 23 per cent polyamide, 20 per cent cotton, 20 per cent wool and four per cent cashmere

While many customers were fans of this rainbow-striped loungewear, many criticised the £80 price tag of the ‘knitted joggers’ – which are 33 per cent viscose, 23 per cent polyamide, 20 per cent cotton, 20 per cent wool and four per cent cashmere

The ‘vintage flavoured print’ of the new Nell Pleated Dress, priced at £120, also failed to generate the desired response.

One customer scathingly remarked: ‘That neckline would make my bust look like a bag full of fighting cats!’ while another wrote: ‘Dearest Boden, you have lost the plot. 

‘The latest book is utter garbage. Please, please start asking some people their opinions. So sad to see you get it so wrong.’ 

Former Boden CEO Jill Easterbrook left the fashion house at the end of 2019 after three years in the role, and was effectively replaced by the brand’s finance boss Paul O’Leary.  

Boden's £95 Elise Pleated Top, which is described as having an 'Eccentric Chevron', also triggered a strong response. While some likened its design to a piece from the luxury label Missoni, one snapped: 'Enough to give you a migraine!'

Boden’s £95 Elise Pleated Top, which is described as having an ‘Eccentric Chevron’, also triggered a strong response. While some likened its design to a piece from the luxury label Missoni, one snapped: ‘Enough to give you a migraine!’

One shopper said they hoped Boden was 'taking note' of all the comments on its last few posts, claiming they fear the brand has 'lost its essence'

One shopper said they hoped Boden was ‘taking note’ of all the comments on its last few posts, claiming they fear the brand has ‘lost its essence’

Its founder Johnnie Boden is lauded as one of the UK’s most successful retail entrepreneurs with a personal fortune estimated at more than £300m. 

The brand, which launched in 1991, still sends out 60 million catalogues a year and attracts around two million customers, many of them caricatured as ‘yummy mummies’ – a phrase Mr Boden is said to hate.

While all fashion businesses are now heavily reliant on online sales, Boden, which launched in 1991, built its success as a catalogue business and still sends out around 60m a year.  

Boden recently reported a drop in profits for 2019, as it invested more in its online offerings and fulfilment capabilities, with a particular focus on the US.

Pre-tax profits fell 48.8per cent to £15.4m in the full year to December 31, 2019, as the retailer invested in its website and delivery system. Sales grew 1.4 per cent to £387.9m in the same period, with US sales up just 0.06 per cent to £144.8m, while sales for the UK and the rest of the world increased 2.31 per cent to £243.1m.

Boden said it did not wish to comment. 

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