Preen by Thornton Bregazzi’s favored venue, the Natural History Museum in London, is a fitting runway background for a brand that’s always evolving.
Nature is important to the Preen blueprint, and designers Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi often fold little snatches from the Great Outdoors into each collection. The duo approaches nature’s influence with the intent of molding it into fresh, vibrant attire for the modern woman. Last spring/summer season, they riffed on reptile and snakeskin textures by printing them onto sheer kimono-sleeved tops and structured skirts. This season, it’s the blossom that provides a backdrop to the collection’s flirtation with geometric abstraction. The first look broadcasts this “naturalism meets cubism” message loudly – all-white separates are spruced up with blazing digital prints that showed a floral background supporting free-form floating cubes, which resemble more vibrant versions of Kevin Bean’s canvases. The prints are so dazzling that they’re almost distracting, but we paused for a moment to appreciate a simple short-sleeve button-up that was elevated in craft by perforated line details and an asymmetrical closure that slashed diagonally across the body.
The skirts in the collection were cut with jagged hems, not unlike the saw-tooth hem sported by Wilma Flintstone, and several of them were outfitted with multi-layered sections. One skirt was given dramatic-yet-stiff side panels, and the finished result resembled something quite close to a paper-towel holder – which is hardly practical. Beyond that very slight misstep, the rest of the collection held to the established aesthetic. A silk anorak covered in foiled silk lent a florid flourish to the tragically down-market, baby-pink, cellophane nylon slip dress it was unfortunately paired with. The cellophane didn’t remain long in the collection; in fact, most of the fabrics were crisp and starchy, lending a certain sturdiness to the garments. Finally, the evening portion quiets the print parade. Background color shifts from white to black and prints become increasingly monotone until color is only present in a liminal way. This collection is a tightly edited and sensible move forward for a brand that relies on precision prints for fuel.
Photos: Courtesy of GoRunway