Beautiful since its inception but lately overflowing with support from the editorial crowd, Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi's Preen label attracted more fash-industry heavy hitters to its show yesterday morning than we've seen all week. Sitting front-row were Julia Restoin-Roitfeld, Lauren Santo Domingo, Caroline Sieber, Kate Lanphear, and Taylor Tomasi Hill. And fittingly, considering how much more Preen we've been seeing on the red carpet these days, Marisa Tomei and Rose McGowan turned up as well, the latter sporting what seemed to be a brand-new pair of lips she hadn't quite, ahem, grown into just yet. As we settled into our seats, our eyes wandered to the sherbet-toned grid of squares lining the walls of the IAC building, which glowed brightly as the show began.
As it happens, the venue's decor was perfectly in keeping with one of the collection's major motifs. A dreamy pastel checkerboard pattern adorned organza shirts, sleek pencil skirts, and featherweight cashmere knits. Thornton and Bregazzi also played with florals--though in graphic black and white that mimicked paisley, these were far from the ditsy prints designers seem to revisit every spring. Adding to spring 2012's collective focus on the sharp collar, Preen's were either embellished, dramatically ruffled, and/or cast in screaming neon--the same megawatt hues that adorned some of the super-cool peplums on skirts and dresses. Also of note were the crisp white numbers embellished with multicolored confetti-style sequins--a clever evolution of those shimmering zigzag pieces Preen showed for fall. Overall, it was an strong collection, though I for one preferred the powdery blues, sparkling whites, and hits of citron to the more somber black-and-white looks. Thornton and Bregazzi's undeniable forté lies in their use of color and clever embellishment, after all.
I caught up with Santo Domingo post-show to hear her thoughts on it all. "I've always loved Preen," she said. "I feel like the label is really ladylike, but at the same time there's this cool edge to everything they make. We sell the line on Moda Operandi, and there are a couple pieces I definitely have my eye on already--those little white lace dresses in particular." Added Vogue stylist Caroline Sieber, "I loved the prints, and the little lace skirts with the underlay were incredible." She also appreciated that though many of the frocks were buttoned-up, they dipped low on the reverse side. "I like the idea of having 'back cleavage!'" she laughed. Julia Restoin-Roitfeld agreed that the designers had achieved a clever contrast with this particular collection: "It struck a perfect balance between delicate fabrics and strong colors," she noted. "The cut was very ladylike, but the materials and details were completely modern."
**All images: Imaxtree