Can you have your cake and eat it, too? Preen designers Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi certainly gave it a go today. Like a lot of designers this season, Thornton and Bregazzi were trying to inject a dark, grubby, punk-inflected energy into luxe, dressed-up clothes. That's not an easy marriage to pull off, and Bregazzi and Thornton responded to the difficulty by making it overt and giving their looks a split personality. This was a purposefully schizophrenic show. Its dark, grubby, punk inflection had an inspired reference: Derek Jarman's New Wave cult film Jubilee. Released in 1978, this hard-to-summarize dystopian flick features such icons of the era as Adam Ant and Siouxsie Sioux, and the collection riffed on their jagged, post-punk aesthetic. Most notably, there was a lot of play with biker-jacket shapes and details, and the vast majority of the looks were in some combination of black, white, and red. One of Thornton and Bregazzi's cleverest ideas was to pick up the grainy quality of Jarman's film and apply it to prints such as a pixelated leopard and smudged silk tartan.

Then there was the show's alternate personality, derived from Richard Avedon's shots of fifties couture model Dorian Leigh. In several looks Thornton and Bregazzi literally jammed full skirts together with pencil-shaped ones in wool crepe, creating dresses that looked wholly different front to back. It was an interesting idea but not altogether effective; perhaps it was simply executed with a surfeit of good taste. At any rate, the Leigh/Avedon influence asserted itself plenty in the polished finish here: Most of the standout looks interpreted the Jubilee theme in more or less straightforward ways, but they had a soigné quality you had to credit elsewhere. To wit, the red and black blouse with an asymmetric collar, worn atop a long black skirt that split to open a vein of blood red silk, or the silk maxi dresses in grainy black and white prints. The colorful crystal embellishment that appeared toward the close of the show seemed a bit out of nowhere after the rigorous elaboration that preceded it, but these pieces also managed to capture the collection's overarching tone of sophisticated and rather chilly New Wave nihilism. Indeed, the irony was that this exploration of duality was almost too coherent.