Preen have been back in London for a couple of seasons now and the notion that they didn't used to show here seems odd. This morning, for example, we boarded a clear glass lift, at once anachronistic and futuristic, and zoomed up to the 32nd floor of the Heron building where, with a misty City in the background, Thea Bregazzi and Justin Thornton presented their latest collection. Should we make anything of the fact that following a year where the word 'Jubilee' was anywhere and everywhere these two cited Derek Jarman's post-apocalyptic cult film 'Jubilee' as their main reference point? We probably should. Preen are masters of celebrating and subverting classic Britishness and today they did it again. And the lit-up row of tiles on the floor, should we have thought Michael Jackson? That was probably just us but at nine in the morning every thought should be noted down in case it sticks.
There is a confidence in what these two do, an ease, that certainly comes with honing down their Preen vocabulary. Last season they celebrated their 10th anniversary. They cut their trousers fluidly, their shirts and blouses just so, and you will always identify a dress of theirs on a rail. This season the otherwise black or navy palette was accentuated with bright flashes of red, sometimes as a silk trim on a collar or a long second layer underneath a skirt. A collar on a shirt was twisted to the side and zips decorated coats and skirts, edging the hem of a cropped jacket or literally zipping a peplum into place. They took on tartan (that subverted Britishness) and played with it, flocking it with a leopard motif - it looked as elegant and luxurious as it could possibly do. A simple shift dress with a deep V-neckline was particularly great. They also played with shapes, adding volume to the back of a skirt by gathering it into couture-worthy pleats. As Serge and Jane's familiar tune kicked in out came a series of sheer or pixilated leopard lace print blouses teamed with leather pencil skirts and killer heels. Sexy? It was! A long dress with layers of frills to the hem stood out as did a reminder that these two can also cut a mean three-piece suit for the woman that rules the executive floor - we were in the City after all. They've also been working with crystal embroidery a lot lately and this season they adorned blouses and dresses evoking a Harlequin pattern.
This was power dressing. We didn't expect anything less. Well, a Michael Jackson reference perhaps but like I said, it was early in the morning. We were bad.