Preen’s AW19 collection was eclectic, vibrant and full of life; a simultaneous celebration of colour, pattern and fabric that perfectly conveys the array of cultural influences that inspired them.
Preen’s inspiration for the collection began with an interest in the history of dance within the British Isles and the way that dance is able to unite communities; bringing joy as well as release. This took them on a journey of nostalgia, calling up memories of music and nights spent in the effervescent Hacienda nightclub, which served as the creative catalyst for their energetic collection.
As an ode to the British Isles, the collection features statement fabrics including Welsh and Irish traditional woven textiles, tartans and tapestry jacquards. Lace ruffles draw inspiration from Welsh textile weavers’ aprons and are delicately embroidered onto dresses in harlequin, while graphic glitter chevron knits reference the interior of the Hacienda. We see nods to English Morris Dancers through tailored suits layered with rosettes, and Irish dancing costumes are emulated through ruffle-hemmed mini dresses and scooped necklines. Florals are given a modern makeover with glitter prints and pleating, and earth tones run through the entire collection, harking back to the literal and metaphorical roots of the garments.
The hair look crafted by ghd fashion week ambassador, Eugene Souleiman, was a perfect translation of these themes, using texture, movement and raw, natural beauty to convey the love of historical British dance that inspired Preen. Textural bobs and ponytails were made even more chic through wispy pin curls at the temples and nape of the neck – the effect of which is feminine, artfully nuanced and perfectly imperfect. These looks were curated to represent the strength and refinement of the Preen woman; a woman who, in Eugene’s own words, is “beautiful, sophisticated and tough” all at the same time.
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- For the ponytails, Eugene generously spritzed Wella Professionals EIMI Root Shoot to lift the hair at the roots and prepare the hair for styling with the ghd curve classic curl tong. Hair was then brushed back roughly, to encourage volume and movement at the hairline.
- Next, Eugene added texture into the front sections of the hair, using the ghd curve classic curl tong. Eugene ensured that each section of hair was the same width as the curler (to ensure the curl was not super tight) and curled from the root, with the ends of the hair left out of the tongs slightly to loosen the curl along the lengths. “The whole point is to be relaxed when styling. It feels like you’re not doing a lot when you curl the hair, but when you pull all the hair back, you’ll be surprised at how strong the look is,” said Eugene.
- Brushes and combs were not used to craft the ponytail. Instead, hair was scraped back roughly with fingers to create a wonderfully messy medley of textures. “What I like to do is just get the girl to tip her head back and really get your hands in there,” said Eugene. “This is about the hands, not your brush. The looks aren’t combed or finished… they’re raw and that’s what makes them so special.” Wella Professionals EIMI Dry Me was then sprayed over the hair to loosen up the roots and dry out any oils, before hair was secured in a ponytail just above the nape of the neck, to give an elegant, feminine feel and to ensure that the baby hairs at the nape are visible.
- Lastly, the look was finished with pin curls that sit at the temples and nape of the neck. These were the definitive detail that join the ponytail and bob styles together, and were what Eugene called an “artful nuance” to otherwise minimal looks. A very small tendril of hair was twisted around a hair pin and secured with Wella Professionals EIMI Dynamic Fix, before being unraveled and fixed in place with a ghd air hairdyer and diffuser.
- Each look was constructed by Eugene with “movement and an organic feel” in mind, making each an artful balance of natural, unpolished beauty and refined catwalk perfection. “The key is to be as easy as you can with them. If you overwork the style, it will look overworked and even tortured. This is a look that is minimal but special, with subtle nuances and softness. The hair should feel touchable – it is not stuck in place just for look’s sake… and though it feels contained, there is so much life to it.”