Even if you're a fan of avant-garde fashion, the term "deconstruction" carries with it the weighty connotation of clothing that's hard to wear and perhaps not terribly feminine or sexy. But for the past couple of seasons,
Preen's Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi have been turning that notion on its head. Today's stellar show followed suit, pushing their sharp fusions of constructed menswear tailoring with fluid womenswear elements—often all in a one-piece look—into even more exquisitely wrought territory.
Their multicolored geometric-floral motif, inspired by the Northern California Arts and Crafts movement, was hand-embroidered, block-printed onto silk, and knit into intarsia sweaters. They further upped the stakes with patches of crystal and metal beading, all done by hand in India, which turned head-to-toe navy workwear into under-the-radar elegant evening. (They also chunked that flash onto the chin-scraping high collars worn under lean suits, an homage, Thornton said, to Diana Vreeland.)
You have to marvel at the fact that these slightly confounding, Frankenstein dresses (disparate tops and bottoms, fronts and backs, miniskirts atop midi skirts) read in such an undeniably sophisticated way. High fashion so often has a disconnect between who can really pull off wearing chic, interesting clothing (girls in their twenties) and who can actually afford it (women in their thirties and upward). But with their collection, Thornton and Bregazzi increasingly bridge that gap, and that's no mean feat.