Preen is loved by women for its ability to combine seemingly man-repelling design with flattering form. It is the result of a married duo, Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi, who feed off their opposing outlooks, and it became a cult classic in the 1990s with its boutique on Portobello Road, the heart of vintage eclecticism and Cool Britannia.
What worked in their latest collection was the ruched tulle red prom dress worn over floral slips — each one consisted of panels going in different directions, many cut on the bias and nipping in at all the right places. The duo said they were inspired by the London art scene in the early 1990s, as well as the suffragette movement — how very apt. However, the latter reference came across too literally at times; in reality, parrot green and Cadbury's purple is a jarring combination that looks at odds with the dark florals and pale pinks that the label has mastered.
The saturate floral eiderdown jackets, felt slightly derivative of the tablecloth prints resurrected by Vetements a while ago, and the duvet dressing more recently seen at Marques Almeida and Alexander McQueen; but they certainly packed a colourful punch.
Boned corsets worn over chunky irregular knits and worked into neat tailoringwere a sublime and fresh proposition. But what would Emmeline Pankhurst make of the garment she violently tried to eliminate from women's wardrobes? "It was restricting then, but now we have the choice to wear one to make our bodies look sexy," reasoned Bregazzi.
Sometimes the frills and ruffles on shirts and white prom dresses uk felt excessive and clownish — which is a criticism not exclusive to Preen. One cream silk blouse, however, ruched and smocked in different directions, artfully balanced theatricality with ease. And some of the dislocated, open shirts seemed impractical at first, but were smartly drawn in at the back to remain surprisingly flattering. Where the collection excelled was in the sense of layering and sculptural fit. And that's something a lot of women are craving right now.