White. The first look of the Preen‘s Spring / Summer 2018 show is entirely white; from the cap to the linen shirt, to the seventeenth-century lace cuffs, to the pants. With the exception of one thing: a scarlet letter “A”, embroidered on the shirt at the chest.
This letter could only be an embroidery, an ornament, half the initials of a person, if it were not a sign of infamy. “A” for adultery.
The collection is inspired by Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel The Scarlet Letter, a work published in 1850 that criticises the Puritan society in which the author grew up, prompting women to be stigmatised for their real or supposed sins. The witch hunt is not far.
It is not far from us either. Is a world in which some dark souls have the power to sentence a girl to death because she has been raped, still endowed with a
semblance of humanity? It is in this world that the two daughters of Thea Bregazzi and Justin Thornton, the founders of the brand, will grow, and so Preen’s spring-summer 2018 collection is a painful reminder.
Men have always loved identifying their supposed enemies with outward signs of recognition. As if by affixing on the “other” a letter, a symbol, a star, one could succeed in circumscribing them and keeping them at a distance. To impose the separation between oneself and the other by the stigma.
The last collection of Preen would like to shake our conscience, but smoothly. In the softness of a few ruffles, in the candid flows of asymmetrical dresses that veil and unveil the skin, in the immaculate whiteness of some wise cotton dresses, in the asymmetry of ties blouses, links that must be freed, in the subtlety of light lace over dresses like free
thoughts, in the delicacy of flesh-coloured underwear-like skin revealed.
Since they created their brand in 1996, Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi have imposed a style that excludes nothing: neither the feminine, the masculine, the lightness, the rigour, the unveiled, or the strict, neither historical references nor anchoring in everyday life. They dress stars like Rihanna, Gwyneth Paltrow, Beyoncé, the Duchess of Cambridge or Michelle Obama. Powerful women.
Their Spring / Summer 2018 collection is the sweetest way to empower women.
Words Isabelle Cerboneschi.
Isabelle is the writer and owner of digital magazine All I C and has been writing about fashion and creativity for over 15 years.