The 32nd floor of Liverpool Street’s imposing new build, the Heron Tower, was the setting for the first show of today: Preen. Olivia Palermo, Leigh Lezark and Michelle Violy Harper were front of house, but backstage the models were lined up and armed with a message from a motivational poster created by the label’s design duo, Thea Bragazzi and Justin Thornton, reading: “You are a pioneer. You walk tall, effortless and proud. A modern woman with intelligence. Strength and desirability. Enjoy! Love love love from Preen.” Lo and behold - these clothes were modern, intelligent, strong and VERY desirable!
Modern? In their refined and elegant silhouettes – i.e. even Preen’s fun experiments on volume didn’t encompass the entire body, just half – like the slightly bustled skirts - which is far more forgiving. The clothes were intelligent, in so far as their skilled pattern-cutting looked like dreamy body-flattering perfection. And each item came complete with all of those little, but oh-so-important, details – like just the right shiny silver zips for the job, intricate crystal-work that doesn’t look cheap (even on a fluffy jumper) or the contrast-colour trim that updated every single blouse collar.
The palette was a classic – black, red, and white – but in no way was their concoction of printed checks, leopard print, devoré, graphic lines, crystals, leather and lace the same old, same old. Strength came from fiercely well-cut tailoring and biker jacket references, as well as some GBH-ready pointed heels. Sexy black lace played peekaboo during an interlude of Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg’s infamous ‘Je T’aime’ - surely fulfilling the desirability factor. But true desirability factor lies in the factor that while Preen’s clothes are forward-thinking and never dull, they’re truly wearable. Feminine but not frou frou. Easy but not sloppy, model-off-duty. Smart but never stuffy. It’s no wonder the chic likes of Olivia P remain firm fans.