What do you know about the game of Cricket? Yeah, I don’t know a great deal, either, although I know there are a few teams running around the Midwest. Cricket never has been a sport that’s developed a very strong fan base in the United States. So, when Americans look at this very bright, very colorful collection from Preen, they’re likely to miss the subtle fact that designers Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi found their inspiration in the National Geographic images of Massai Cricket Warriors. No, I had no idea such a thing existed. I had to go and look for myself. Very colorful, indeed.

Therefore, what we see in this spring/summer 2015 collection, that came far too early this morning for colors and a set quite so bright, are lots and lots of stripes in blue and red mixed with more traditional Massai tribal patterns. Sometimes the looks are obviously sporty (I understand there are actually Cricket pads to accompany some of the looks, even though they weren’t worn during this morning’s presentation) and other times the looks are wonderfully feminine. Even if one doesn’t understand Cricket at all, the looks are still quite exciting even in the most basic silhouettes.

Being fashioned after a sporting event, one might expect silhouettes that are fitted and rather tight, but that is not the case with this collection at all. Yes, some of the sweaters do hug rather tightly to the body, but skirts are largely composed of layered panels loosely constructed so as to billow and flow as one walks. One might also be surprised by how long several of these looks are, many coming all the way down to mid-calf. There are some rather light weight fabrics at work as well, not just the more athletic knits one might typically expect. There are plenty of sweaters and sweater dresses, of course, and a fair number of crop tops. When the collection is most exciting, however, is with a set composed of counter-crossed strips of material in an almost haphazard pattern. These are indeed tighter and shorter, but are the kind of exciting that is bound to turn heads.

One finds a surprising amount of detail in this collection as well. Bead work pops up in a number of places and it is rather sad that element doesn’t show well in the photographs. There is also plenty of fringe flying around, which gives the ensembles that much more motion.

Oh yeah, there are some floral prints, too. Why, I’m not sure. They’re there, though, and they look quite nice.

By the time this Preen show was over, I was so stimulated I couldn’t wait to get up and … find another cup of coffee. No, I’m still not likely to take up Cricket any time soon, and I still think that point will be lost on the majority of American shoppers unless the displays go out of their way to make the matter obvious. I do hope that doesn’t detract from the collection’s popularity, though. Thornton and Bregazzi have done a wonderful job with one of the most exciting collections we’ve seen in London. Good show!

Photo credit: Guillame Roujas

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