It has been a year of political upheaval, the year that saw a woman and her party soar into the political stratosphere, a year that saw a change in the fabric of the Houses of Parliament, and year that saw an engagement in European politics reach new heights. It is perhaps then of no surprise that Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi chose to show the bold Preen SS16 collection in the architecturally magnificent City Hall. Part of the nation’s political landscape, this striking building is a backdrop on a day to day basis for the power play and drama of politics, and so its shift in purpose for London Fashion Week doesn’t require too much of a stretch of imagination. As a backdrop for the punchy collection by some of London’s brightest design talent is just as apt.
Drama there was aplenty- models walked down the spiralling construct clad in belted jackets of buffed leather, tailored suits in midnight navy, and polished brogues that meant business. Crisp white shirts were tucked with purpose into wide-legged trousers which were tied with silver hoops and wide judo-style belts, whilst leather skirts fell above the knee with a clean cut and swooped with floor-length seriousness at the back, again clinched in with silver hardware. Harnesses and straps continued to bring a masculine edge to the assembly.
This resolution and toughness was tempered with touches of femininity, albeit one that maintained a level of strength and purpose (the kind of femininity exuded by rock chicks with an abundance of attitude and grit). Soft floral prints were tugged across the body leaving gaps and peaks of skin; lace was sheer and acidic and delivered an arresting sting of colour to the show. The result is a power play between beauty and masculinity, an amalgamation that surely brings with it a level of strength that is aided rather than compromised by femininity. Surely this is the winning ticket in politics, and one which can withstand any line of questioning.