With Luella Bartley and Matthew Williamson electing to stay home this season, it fell to Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi of Preen to fly the British flag in New York. A sudden swell of buzz accompanied their ten-year-old label's stateside debut (having Agyness Deyn, already this week's unofficial mascot, in your corner will do that). If today's show didn't blow away those expectations, it offered more than enough reason to extend the brand's visa.
Each Preen collection exists within the context of the one before. "Where we left off with last is where we start," Thornton told Style.com. "It's always a journey for me and Thea." So last season's fixation on the eighties aggressions of Claude Montana or, if you prefer, Thierry Mugler (neon-pinks and new-wave zippers and pleats like the exoskeleton of an insect) softened into shiny satin wraps, parachute pants, and lace bodysuitscall it Versace territory.
Graphic body-con silhouettes alternated with slouchy sensual ones; silks mingled with suedes; and everything was worked up in a Saint-Tropez palette of sand, blue, olive, lilac, orange, and white. The active-sport touchesdrawstrings and anorakslooked especially good. What Thornton and Bregazzi do best is a mash-up of classics: silk blouses, trousers, and bathing suits, like the showstopper worn by Anja Rubik. Next stop, L.A.?