Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi took a weekend trip to Venice earlier this year and dreamt up their pre-fall collection.

Venetian florals, surrealist art at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection and glamorous images of Peggy herself in the historic city all came together beautifully via with rich textures, distinct silhouettes and an elegance reflecting the American heiress and art lover.

“She was a real personality, she collected surrealist art way ahead of her time and has now left this incredible legacy for everyone to enjoy,” said Thornton, pointing to an image of Guggenheim on his moodboard wearing a bold, two-tone dress and statement jewels. “I love that this would be her on a ‘casual’ day.”

The husband-and-wife design duo channeled the same sense of boldness into a series of statement evening dresses — which remain the most dynamic part of the brand’s business.

A graphic, black-and-white languid midi dress was a modern take on one that Guggenheim used to wear. Another one, embroidered in clear sequins, had a shine that was similar to that of a plastic dress the socialite wore in the Thirties.

There were plenty of clever, subtle references to Venice and the surrealist art dotted throughout the city: The ruffle on the hem of a simple knit dress was inspired by the movement of the water seen from a gondola; black-and-white striped tights mirrored the  mooring poles, while graphic patterns alluded to harlequins and carnival masks.

What stood out was the designers’ ability to weave their stories and artistic references into a highly commercial offering of easy-to-wear dresses.

While dresses continue to dominate, there was also a strong tailoring element in the range including suits in bright colors and cool patchwork jackets made using dead stock.

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