"We've been wanting to do denim for ages," said Preen's Justin Thornton at the label's New York City showroom, in town for a few days from London. Thornton and his other half, Thea Bregazzi, believed that Preen Line, their "rock-and-roll" secondary line, was a logical way to move into the category. So they dedicated their first-ever Preen Line Resort collection to denim.

Two pairs of jeans kicked off the collection: one skinny, one boyfriend, both patched up for a look inspired by Ali MacGraw: The Steve McQueen Years. (While Thornton and Bregazzi are often taken with MacGraw, it was specifically about her and McQueen together this time.) A denim button-up skirt was done in two lengths—one above the knee, the other below it for a more seventies feel; a chambray popover dress was made in both a light wash and indigo, as was a sleeveless denim shirtdress. A bomber had extra-long ribbing at the bottom for a new look, while a shirt was embroidered with flowers.

To go with all that denim, Thornton and Bregazzi made ruffled silk blouses, the prettiest in red with a contrasting white placket. There were white T-shirts, too—denim's ultimate companion—made unique with either an open back or a contrasting strip of fabric on the pocket.

But while Thornton and Bregazzi want this collection to complement Preen Line's fancier Fall and Spring pieces—not to mention the hip frocks they design for the main line—there were a few statements that stood on their own, too. The georgette trompe l'oeil pieces—a pair of elastic-waist pants printed with a pair of jeans, a slipdress that looked like it was made from a long denim skirt—had a clever attitude.