by Sarah Mower
Preen by Thornton Bregazzi did very well with their modern-elegant punk collection for fall. Now they’re onto the next thing. “Grunge!” laughs Thea Bregazzi. “It’s all coming back . . . meeting at motorway service stations and going off to some rave in a field or warehouse when we were at college in Manchester, where it was all happenning with the music.” By the late nineties, Bregazzi and her partner Justin Thornton had set up Preen. “Thea used to wear vintage slips over white T-shirts, with trainers—it was all that!” Thornton reminisces.” That’s why we’ve been working with bias cutting, and forget-me-not prints, and even dip-dyeing—that was very grunge.”
The smart part about their recycling (or should that be upcycling?) of the shared memories of their youth is that they know exactly how to push the buttons of their own generational cohort—by now, successful professionals like themselves. “We have this customer who is our frien, too,” says Thornton. “She’s a CEO by now, or a filmmaker, in media or business. She has this life where she might be in the boardroom and going to events in the evenings—but she’s also spending her summers going to festivals or to the beach. So the idea is she could wear a floral bias-cut dress with heels for a work cocktail party—or with flip-flops or festival flats when she’s off to Coachella.”
All this explains the coherence in Preen’s collection—and how the couple create a fine balance between being cool and young (but not too young) and functional (but not boring). Resort spans interesting workplace-friendly tailoring and crisply fitted dresses with a flip in the hem—and goes all the way through to offering a thought-out system for what a woman needs for a beach trip, swimsuits, sweatshirts, and loose, demi-casual dresses to sling on as cover-ups (there’s a particularly lovely assymetrically cut pink one). Kudos to them for a pretty palette, the fits they’ve evolved, and especially for being spokes-designers for the the nineties generation, all grown up.