Tasking their classic and simple silhouettes, always with a sense of fun, and producing them in a beautiful soft palette of bold pastels and sunshine inspired colours, Preen presented a strong and yet very feminine collection for 2012. Geometric patterns, lace inspired prints with strong contrasts, ruffles, layers and sheer all added a sense of individual style while giving a solid nod to the heritage of England’s Bloomsbury set. Added details included frilled collars and ruffles, ruching and A-line skirts, cropped at just the right height above the knee. Although a traditional feel to the collection, overall it felt modern through the additions of developed textiles and bolder, statement features.
Dazed Digital: What were the inspirations behind this collection?
Justin Thornton: We were reading Virginia Wolfe, looking at her lifestyle and the Bloomsbury set. In particular we were interested in Orlando in terms of the character reincarnations or, in a sense, the time travels between different periods.
DD: How did that translate into the garments?
Justin Thornton: We loved various aspects from that period but felt to replicate them would be too retro, so we tried to take it to a new level by computerising everything. We took the lace from that period and digitised it so it became very geometric and black and white, almost to the point where it didn’t feel like lace any more. We also took some photos of peonies and then pixelated them. They started out as just pink but by the time we had finished with them we got all these different colours. They really became the beginning part of the collection with the chequered ice cream colours.
DD: What about the silhouette?
Justin Thornton: This season the overall silhouette was quite clean and modern but we added a lot of detail into the garments themselves. Whether it was print or hand beading, crystal and coral beading or the sheer layering, which was really about it being summer, fresh and light.
DD: What were you looking at from last season collection that fed through?
Justin Thornton: We always try and carry elements through, last season we had the little pelmets that this season became the ruffling. Of course the tailoring was important again, which this season we did in really minimal shapes but bright colours.
DD: Do you have a muse for the collection?
Justin Thornton: We tend to think about our friends or people we have met that we find inspiring. It’s really not about the way they dress but more about their personality or their lifestyle. Ultimately we are always thinking about the modern career woman and what she needs in her life, a great pair of trousers, a good jacket, something to go to dinner, something for the theatre. When we are developing a collection we always think about this strong independent woman who has a frivolity about her.