Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi are celebrating their 20th anniversary in the fashion industry this year. Off Portobello Market, in 1996, the duo conceived the idea for a fashion brand that is still going strong today. To celebrate their anniversary they created a capsule collection available on Net-a-Porter. In February at London Fashion Week, they presented their Fall 2016 Preen by Thornton Bregazzi collection at the Tate Britain, early on Sunday morning. The 9am showing can be difficult, especially when trying to maintain a tired, jet-lagged audience of international press and buyers, but these two have been doing it for years and did it once again with aplomb.
Their woman is an aristocrat fused with rock chick tendencies. She wears delicate, painterly florals but that’s too easy of a description. There’s plastic layered dresses, reconstructed dresses, panelled sweaters, lacy bodices falling into an elegantly draped layer of flowers. Contacting a tartan bodice with floral shirt and chequered skirt, flavours of Kim Kardashian were evoked but also the 90s club princesses that inspired her look. In a stunning mixture of blues, one sweater morphed into a three-part dress.
Ruching, leather, lace added further dimensions to the clothing. There was the unforgettable rockabilly swagger to the clothing, a Preen signature. It was translated through modernity to establish a nu-femininity. It’s an amalgamation of aesthetics: ladylike, prim and proper morphed wonderfully with the inclusion of darkness, sexiness and head-banging rock chick. The hair, slightly unkempt, signified club culture of yore, the ones that Thornton and Bregazzi wax rhapsodically about, the ones that forever permeate their work. The shoes too. Point-toe lace-ups and Dr. Martens spin-offs were worn by each model. In the case of a ruched pink dress, the result was jarring, but undeniably cool and easy. The truest vision of unadulterated party girl vibes was seen in the shimmering, pink sequin frock paired with a shearling coat, fishnet socks and bow-accented, black boots.
Preen is, and has always been, about a vision. Some brands have attitude, others have a unique look, but Preen is about the idea of a woman, presumably of an aristocratic background, whose shapeshifting prowess allows her to become the rocker she identifies with deep down. This brand was invented before I was born, but over the past few years I’ve had the pleasure of watching them continually grow. To the next chapter in their career!