Mere seconds after the Preen catwalk show was over, updates on Twitter and fashion blogs sprang up: Preen showed a sublime collection at New York’s Fashion Week in early February. Suzy Menkes of the International Herald Tribune applauded it and Cathy Horyn of the New York Times wrote that it was “different in the best of ways.
But critics, journalists and fashion aficionados also took note of one thing: bold jewelry, the likes of which had almost disappeared off of runways in recent years, particularly when paired with Preen’s recent collection of space age meets Romeo and Juliet romanticism.
The duo behind the British it-brand Preen are Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi. Counting Kate Moss and Gwenyth Paltrow as fans, they have the edginess of British fashion combined with the fine silhouettes and sensuality of Parisian fashion.
Working in collaboration with Preen, a jewelry collection was quickly designed by Azza Fahmy for the label in under a month, just before fashion week mania.
Taking inspiration from the lace and flowered patterns of the fabrics that Thornton and Bregazzi were working with for their Fall/Winter 2010 collection, Fahmy along with her daughter Amina Ghali, who designs alongside her mother, created a futuristic looking collection that still relied on Azza Fahmy standards such as bold patterns, fine craftsmanship and painstaking detail.
A standout piece is the choker, created as if a triptych of art panels. Each panel is hand pierced to reveal curlicues of flower patterns, calligraphy and geometric patterns; yet what is different about this collection is the width and boldness of the lines.
The calligraphy is not written in fine wisps of gold, but rather wide silver letters mingle with talisman eyes and other patterns that it becomes harder to distinguish what is what. Fahmy and Ghali have modernized both script and images and by doing so, they have perfectly complimented Preen’s modernization of form, underwear silhouettes became outerwear silhouettes in their fashion collection yet there was still a lot of covering up.
Preen sent out dresses with long hemlines and surprise cut outs, dresses had turtleneck collars and snug long sleeves yet the collar bone area was bare. The choker was intended to continue the lines of Preen’s designs, highlighting the femininity of a high neck.
But bangles, earrings and rings were also presented. The bangles were large and slightly chunky, angularly faceted for a futuristic effect offset by delicate piercing and engraving. A cuff was made from both gold and silver, and beautifully highlighted when worn on top of a long black sleeve.
But the pièce de resistance was a silver belt with one link of gold worn over a white blouse with a high neck.
Preen have to be applauded for bringing femininity back to the catwalk, and somehow still making very conservative necklines and forms ever so sexy. But of course, they can thank Azza Fahmy as well; she’s boosted their collection with a sort of edginess that we don’t often see in jewelry design anymore.