Preen Line's Latest Collection Is Just A Little Bit Kurt & Courtney

It goes without saying that we are big fans of Preen and its diffusion counterpart, Preen Line, as well as the designers behind the labels, Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi. In fact, this writer’s very first designer piece was a Preen Victoriana-inspired ruffled top covered in buttons, purchased from the Whistles store on Kings Road, circa 2000. Ahh — sweet, sartorial memories.
So, we caught up with the design duo on a recent sunny Thursday afternoon, while they were shooting the Preen Line SS’14 lookbook (Kurt and Courtney, this one's for you). With Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart” serenading in the background, we got to talking about inspirations, future plans, and ageless fashion.
Advertisement
1 of 22
Photo: Courtesy of Preen Line.
What was the inspirational starting point for this collection?
Thea Bregazzi: "We always look at our archive and we’ve always got in the back of our minds, of course, the main line collection, the previous one we’ve just done. We always want it to fit nicely with the other collections. We always look back to our DNA, that Victoriana, little bit of ‘90s grunge feel, so that is always our starting point — the things we love. We want this collection to be easy wear and easy wash, to just be able to throw it on."

Justin Thornton: "We think of the Preen Line as being the same woman who buys the main line collection, but it’s probably what she would wear on a casual day or on the weekend. More easy pieces and holiday pieces — that’s kind of how we see it. We don’t see it as a younger collection. Our friends wear it, and their ages range from 25 to 45, so it’s definitely not created for a younger customer."
2 of 22
Photo: Courtesy of Preen Line.
Is there a woman you have in mind when you are designing for this collection?
JT: "Just our friends. As we’ve grown up and the business has developed, so many of our friends are business owners, directors, or CEOs. They live this very transient lifestyle – they need to have clothes to fit. Now they go to music festivals and they call us up to say, 'I need a wardrobe for a music festival.' [laughs] The world has changed and everybody wants a certain look for a certain thing. Gone are the days when people in their 40s decide to dress like 40-year-olds. So, this collection has a youthful element to it, but it crosses so much more than that."

TB: "I think things have changed so much now. It isn’t about age, it is all about attitude."
3 of 22
Photo: Courtesy of Preen Line.
Can you describe to me what the design process is? Do you draw every single sketch together?
JT: "No, no. We work with a team. It is collaboration. We start with an idea, the themes for the collection and develop it from there as we go through. It is very organic the way we work, there is no set way to do it and we edit all the way through and we change things. That is why you get this very patchwork effect to our work; our pieces are chopped up and patched together."

4 of 22
Photo: Courtesy of Preen Line.
For your AW’13 collection for Preen Line, currently in stores, what are your favourite looks?
JT: "There are some great knits, and lots of colours and textures. They have a kind of mod, punky vibe to them. There’s a bright-blue tartan that we’ve done in georgette with a cute little collar that is really nice, too."
5 of 22
Photo: Courtesy of Preen Line.
You’ve mentioned that Courtney Love and Kurt Cobain, and Victoriana are important to your brand’s DNA. What about London? Does working in this city inspire you?
JT: "The city does inspire us, but really we see this brand as an international one. We actually sell this collection more abroad than we do in this country. We have to think of the woman from around the world. Really, we’re inspired by travel."

TB: "Also, London is so multicultural; people from all nationalities are living and working in London."

JT: "It’s important for us to consider our Asian customer and our American customer. So, we try and think of a modern woman rather than a specific place."
Advertisement
6 of 22
Photo: Courtesy of Preen Line.
Is there anyone you’d like to see wearing Preen Line, that hasn’t already?
JT: "Yes, it’s always cool to see people wearing our designs. We’re very lucky that we generally haven’t had to court it, it's just happened."

7 of 22
Photo: Courtesy of Preen Line.
What are the buzzwords for your SS’14 mainline collection?
JT: "It will be quite fresh and light with a sort of soft colour palette. It has a very summery feel to it."
8 of 22
Photo: Courtesy of Preen Line.
What are your future hopes for the Preen Line label?
JT: "We really see it growing, because it is a slightly more affordable price point. It is already growing each season and now it is becoming an important part of the business. I really feel like it is a collection that will develop. We are already launching sunglasses and shoes, so it is really beginning to grow and the brand will continue to grow separate from the mainline collection."
9 of 22
Photo: Courtesy of Preen Line.
What are the key pieces that Preen Line is known for?
JT: "In the summer, it is usually the silky T-shirt dresses with the embroidery detail; they really easy throw on pieces."

TB: "We always have great stretch-cotton dresses. They are so good. They go from daytime into evening. Great for events, but also casual enough for the beach."

JT: "A very casual fitted blazer is a signature, too. You can travel in it and it’s machine washable. We really think about the practicalities. In the winter, we are known or our leather, knits, and sheepskins."

TB: "Like a detachable fur collar that we have done forever. We always do that on an item each season and it’s something the buyers look out for and our customers, too."
10 of 22
Photo: Courtesy of Preen Line.
What have been the highlights for you as a brand?
JT: "There have been so many different things."

TB: "What is really nice is that we’ve been able to grow at our own pace. Kind of keep in control and work together on our own terms. It has always developed at a pace we’ve wanted; it's never been taken out of our hands."

JT: "From a show point of view, the first show in New York was a highlight. And, the 'Power Dress' was a big thing for us, too. Amy Winehouse wore it, as did Gwyneth Paltrow. It sold out for about five consecutive seasons."
Advertisement
11 of 22
Photo: Courtesy of Preen Line.
What advice would you give to young designers starting out? Would you have done anything differently yourselves?
TB: "I don’t think we’d have done anything differently. I would say just to get as much work experience as you can from other design houses. I think the guys starting up now are a lot more clued up than we ever were. We were just very passionate and loved what we did."
12 of 22
Photo: Courtesy of Preen Line.
13 of 22
Photo: Courtesy of Preen Line.
14 of 22
Photo: Courtesy of Preen Line.
15 of 22
Photo: Courtesy of Preen Line.
Advertisement
16 of 22
Photo: Courtesy of Preen Line.
17 of 22
Photo: Courtesy of Preen Line.
18 of 22
Photo: Courtesy of Preen Line.
19 of 22
Photo: Courtesy of Preen Line.
20 of 22
Photo: Courtesy of Preen Line.
Advertisement
21 of 22
Photo: Courtesy of Preen Line.
22 of 22
Photo: Courtesy of Preen Line.
Advertisement