Preen by Thornton Bregazzi
February 12, 2012 New York
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.