By turns romantic and rebellious, Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi’s beautifully poetic fall collection drew its references from Christina Broom’s photographs of suffragettes, artists Tracey Emin and Sarah Lucas and the flamboyance of the Eighties’ New Romantics.
“We were thinking about women, and how powerful women can be, [especially] politically at the moment,” said Bregazzi. In the silhouettes in particular, the design duo played traditionally feminine, corseted garments off against freer, flouncy shapes, to appealing effect. One cream cable-knit sweater appeared to be fused with a black corset, so while the waist was cinched in, the neck slouched off the shoulders. Bregazzi noted that the designers had wanted to explore how a corset’s shape could read either “repressive [or] liberating,” depending on how it’s worn.
The duo also deftly toyed with the restrictive elements of the suffragettes’ Edwardian dress, as in a deep purple silk dress, with its covered buttons at the back positioned off to one side, and a ruffled collar, half of which had been sliced off. And a high-necked, frilled white shirt with extravagantly long sleeves was paired with carrot-shaped, high-waisted pants for an undone, Eighties air. Adding to that devil-may-care mood was the models’ smudged red lipstick and mussed-up hair.
Florals, a recurring theme in Thornton and Bregazzi’s collections, had a bold, wildflower quality this season. The designers fashioned floral fabrics in vivid reds, blacks and yellows into high-necked, handkerchief-hemmed dresses, or one cocooning, eiderdown-like coat, to look as if their muse had gone “back to bed [to] hide away from the world,” Bregazzi said.