Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi are known to have piles of books as show notes. This season, their references ranged from The Golden Book of Fortune-Telling to Nomads and the Outside World to Virginia Woolf's Orlando. The collections are richly researched and highly considered, leading to scrupulously designed, carefully constructed clothes.
One assumes that the Preen customer looks for the whimsical, wafty dresses we've come to expect from Thornton and Bregazzi. This season, their woman toughened up a bit, preparing for a voyage, rolling her wardrobe up with her. Grounded by tan leather boots and sandals with natty nude socks, models wore ruff-necked tops, dresses in floral pleated crepe and simple white silks with exaggerated puff sleeves. Fabrics were thin, sometimes sheer, in nylons and silks; if compacted for packing, they would take up next to no room. A jersey-knit vest was pulled apart and re-purposed back together, stitches parted with gossamer-fine lace. One was reminded of a broken china plate, perhaps dropped on the move, fixed together with the glue seams showing.
Whilst travelling and escapism are by no means new territory in fashion, the designers are conscious of what these references mean in a contemporary landscape. Backstage, the duo noted the distinctions between those who are forced to migrate, and those who subscribe to the culture of nomadic tradition out of choice. Proceeds from this collection will support the charity Help Refugees.
Packed full of adventure, imagination and intrigue, the clothes presented today gave many new propositions for Preen's ready-to-wear customer. The introduction of drawstring shorts and nylon suits slipped in seamlessly, the garments felt at ease, even alongside bows and buckles. A series of ruffled lace dresses, slipping off the shoulder, came in powder blue, the lightest of lilacs and a watery lime green. The latter was the longest and strongest, embellished with minute pearls in greedy floral clusters. Somebody send me a linesheet, that's the dress of my dreams.