Preen's Thea Bregazzi and Justin Thornton staged their show on a stark white sweep of a runway set against the panoramic glass windows of a brand-new London office block. The setting lent a clean, modernist vibe to the look they've been working on for a couple of seasons now: short, body-conscious, and asymmetric, with a lot of wrapping at the waist.
Taking an early-nineties photograph by Mario Testino of Nadja Auermannall blond-beigeness, endless legs, and vermillion lipsas inspiration, they opened with an oatmeal wrap coat tied in the back, with a hemline several inches above the knee. That was followed by jersey dresses, some cut like aprons, then many more variants on the theme in shades from ecru to pearly gray. Preen has developed a strong way with color; the show's high point was a passage of bright red that gave graphic punch to its silhouettes. On the downside, the sophistication these designers are striving for isn¿t yet in their grasp. They could double their impact by showing half the pieces, which might also give them more of a budget for better fabrics. Both moves could bump them up to the next level.