Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi go for evolution over revolution, building each collection on the last. Spring's exploration of femininity and streamlining of silhouettes barreled forward for Fall. As for muses, they stuck with the Victorians, turning from Virginia Woolf to illustrator and conservationist Beatrix Potter, both her work and her life. "She was quite progressive in her time," said Thornton backstage. "There was a group who used to sit at home and embroider, but she's one of the ones who traveled and sketched and went off onto the moors."
For the strong women of today, Thornton and Bregazzi cut the inevitable high romance of botanical flower and butterfly prints by paneling them into dresses with sharp blocks of a very flat matte fabric they referred to as scuba wool, and generally manipulating them by printing the motifs on sequins and embroidering over them with tarnished silver beading. The effect was far from sugary. At times, it was nearly minimal—a successful dance with feminine codes. The brushstroke print mid-show that came from looking at Abstract Expressionists like Jasper Johns provided a sort of interlude.
The trompe l'oeil construction that was Thornton and Bregazzi's calling card for many seasons has all but disappeared, which could be the natural course of things as well as a bid for more business. Let's face it, a Frankenstein-ed look of, say, a half-skirt over a longer skirt and attached blouse has more limited appeal than a dress with a straightforward silhouette. However, here, the precise collaging of fabrics—especially in standouts like look 35—from op art and floral prints to lace to daisy-patterned sequins and even little chunks of crystal beading, was sophisticated enough to hold your interest. We'll trust this duo to not become so streamlined as to lose their distinct point of view and look like everyone else.