The Preen show this morning was lit with streaming sun through a skylight. The set was markedly Preen; boulders, mounted on a mirrored surface, their bottoms painted Yves Klein blue, their tops a natural grey. From the off, this image indicated depth.
Little green bottles sat on the seats awaiting the audience. Upon inspection, these contained asparagus juice and were accompanied by two small probiotic pills, ‘to keep your gut and immune healthy!’ A well-meaning gesture, but no thanks. That being said, the best-dressed girls at the show were in Preen, their skin glowing, their ethereal dresses grounded with boots or trainers. Perhaps their radiance should be attributed to the show favours - clean, serene, Preen.
The show started and Celestine Cooney’s cleverly whimsical styling brought each piece to life. Lace and fishnet leggings peeked out under dresses and skirts, paired with hairy-toed heels and boots. The desirability of this collection was in the detail. The utilitarian toggles, in playroom green and yellow, pulled together sleeves on chinoiserie and brocade, hemmed with shearling and a few choice marabou feathers. Florals, a signature for the brand, were found on thin mac material and a tapestry suit. Preen’s Cheongsam for A/W 18 came in a deep burgundy with delicate flowers and was cut into a variety of silhouettes. This fabric was repeated most successfully on a pair of thin trousers worn with an oversized cricket jumper.
The bags looked like buoys, some wrapped in fishnet, some with even more shearling. As reported by Vogue's Sarah Mower, Thea Bregazzi and Justin Thornton were inspired by the haenyeo community, 'a cultural economy in the Jeju coastal area of South Korea, where the “Amazons of Asia” dive for valuable shellfish without breathing apparatuses'. The society functions thus; women do all the work and the men take care of home and childcare.
One model wore a key on an elastic band around her wrist, like the ones you get given at the swimming pool, for your locker. The effect of this tiny detail far exceeded its size, indicating the overall intention behind the collection. While the clothes are fantastical - layers of white beading, reminiscent of a bed of oysters and shells, hung from one dress - the mastery is that the woman wanting to buy them retains practicality in her life. She swims on the weekends, she pairs her Preen dress with sportswear. Maybe she's also done her reading and knows that the top she has on was created with an eco-feminist approach in mind.
There were nods to John Galliano’s recent Margiela collections and perhaps a similarity to Raf Simons’s Calvin Klein A/W 18 offering in the balaclava-like hoods, here shown in nylon florals and oyster-grey cashmere. But before you go alerting @diet_prada, consider that this similarity shows that the pair behind Preen have their fingers on the pulse. They’re smart to show their pieces like this - a floral dress is a floral dress, but with a matching hood, it’s a piece of design, a proposition. There was indeed a depth to this show and in each piece, more than enough to desire.