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“Modern romance” was the starting point for Preen by Thornton Bregazzi’s SS16 offering. Staged inside the spaceship-like atrium of City Hall on London’s south bank, it was a collection of contrasts.
The building’s interior — stark, clinical, and “modern” had been a huge draw for partners Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi. Architecture, and the way light refracts off modern skyscrapers, was reflected in the shattered graphic prints and leopard-print chiffons sliced by shards of heavy black. A clever juxtaposition.
“We always like a modernity to a collection and we wanted something that had a little sci-fi to it,” said Bregazzi backstage of the venue they first showed in in 2006. “We wanted this feeling of glass and lights. And with the romance, the building seemed the perfect fit with the scenic views,” added Thornton.
He likes science, she likes romance: the two are a contrast in themselves. “It was really graphic and really tough, but at the same time there was this really romantic thread that ran through the collection,” he continued.
The gentler aspects came in Laura Ashley-esque botanical prints that adorned ruffled chiffons — a fast emerging trend in London — deliberately undone, with sleeves loose from shoulder seams and flowing layers fastened with a robust discoid buckle at the waist. Cutaway shoulders that were delicate in whisper-thin chiffon were otherwise made rigid and tough with metal silver hoops on lacy dresses. Masculine tailoring was cut loose, with elongated sleeves and trousers that pooled.
The monochrome was broken up with rosy nudes. Their muse? “The modern woman, a frequent traveller who has to go to work, pick her kids up from school and run errands,” said Thornton. But aren’t these dresses a little feminine to run errands in? “I don’t think women are afraid of femininity any more,” says Bregazzi, herself the mother of a young toddler in need of much mobile supervision. “You can still make it cool by wearing these dresses with trainers or flats.”