Fashion

IT TAKES TWO BABY

As power couples go, there are few that rival Preen duo Thea Bregazzi and Justin Thornton. They sat down with us to explain why good things come in twos.

Over twenty years ago, in a small shop in Notting Hill, Thea Bregazzi and Justin Thornton were busy designing, making and selling their collection. Word spread of the duo’s fresh take on London cool, a “darkly romantic selection of punkish sensibilities with vintage elements and handcrafted details". Today Preen by Thornton Bregazzi has become a globally loved label stocked across five continents.

A couple who have designed more than 30 critically acclaimed collections and who have a family together (Blythe, 8, and Fauve, 4) certainly know a thing or two about symbiotic relationships. Just how do they make it work? And not just work, but thrive? “We both design", explains Thea, “but I sketch more and Justin drapes. We have very similar tastes and tend to love the same things, but we always push each other to develop collections to be better - we can discuss colours till we are blue in the face!"

I always say two is better than one, and who can you rely on more than your partner?

Thea Bregazzi

Preen duo Thea Bregazzi and Justin Thornton.

Relying on a partner is one thing, but in a notoriously cut-throat industry, to expand and deliver season after season in the way that Preen has is a feat and a testament to their talent and vision for the brand. Modern tailoring, graphic designs and an ability to evolve and adapt to the needs of their customer has given them an edge on the competition.

We're not afraid to embrace the digital era. We know now that our customer won't buy black pieces online - they want colour. We've embraced digital tools like Instagram, too. For us, it’s a place where we can connect with our customers, posting things and people we love, places we visit and moods that influence our approach to design, as well as using it to showcase new ideas, inspiration and, of course, show off our new collections.

Thea Bregazzi and Justin Thornton

Alexa Chung in Preen by Thornton Bregazzi.

Speaking of which, this season’s collection was particularly politically charged, with references to The Scarlet Letter and The Handmaid's Tale throughout the 41-look strong offering. The label has a history of political connections, having dressed Michelle Obama and Samantha Cameron, both during high profile appearances. Do they feel a responsibility to use their position to influence the people who follow them? "We dress women - how could we not respond to what's happening in the world today? This is a very politically charged time and you can't help but be passionate about it, especially when you have two daughters."

With fans spanning from movie stars and musicians to CEOs and the Brown Thomas shopper, what do they make of their Irish customer? "We love that Irish women embrace their femininity and wear it with strength and pride. She always surprises us with how she wears Preen, giving it her own personal touch."

All this time later, what is it that drives the duo? Commercial success, famous fans, a political legacy? "Our fashion moments have certainly kept our spirits high over the years. Visiting the White House to meet Michelle Obama was a highlight. Meeting the Queen was wonderful too. And it’s amazing for us to see so many of our original looks being referenced by the younger designers now."

Quite the journey since Notting Hill then, it really does just take two.

The thrill of the new, a sneak peek at Preen Line the new diffusion line coming this June online and in store.

SHOP PREEN BY THORTON BREGAZZI

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