Preen on the must-have piece from the new Debenhams collection and dressing Michelle Obama

And THAT Kate Middleton effect

(Image credit: Rex Features (Shutterstock))

And THAT Kate Middleton effect

Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi aka the duo behind Preen have been just a little bit busy lately. They just showed their autumn/winter 2017 collection at London Fashion Week and are now relaunching their collection at Debenhams under a new name, Studio by Preen.

We had an exclusive sneak peek and we can tell you this line is everything you need for spring: gingham tops, floral tea dresses, stripes and utilitarian pieces... there's definitely a style to suit every taste.

We caught up with the couple to talk all things fashion, from what it's like to dress Michelle Obama and Kate Middleton, and the must-have Studio by Preen pieces you need to buy before they sell out...

What was your inspiration behind the line?

Justin: We wanted to rebrand with Studio by Preen. We wanted to give Debenhams something they didn’t already have, so we came up with the utility concept, which is every day essentials, pieces that we can draw on our archive of designs and that would fit in this vibe.

The clothes never get too evening-y, you might wear them for lunch and then again in the evening, as the modern woman is looking for pieces that work in different aspects of her life.

We really wanted the collection to have its own look. We didn’t want it to be a cheaper version of what we’ve got already, because there’s no point. Our customer is intelligent, she doesn’t want a cheap version, she wants something that’s been designed for her.

What are the standout pieces in the collection?

Thea: I love this gingham shirt which I’ve got in a really large size I like the oversized look but you can buy it in a smaller size for a more fitted style.

Justin: Gingham is very successful because it’s got that modernity but it’s also got that classic feel to it. There’s a great gingham trench, and a great blue shirt with a ruffle and dots on. Then the other side of it is the feminine tea dress element, florals are iconic for us. Of course the red dress is a very strong one too.

Studio by Preen gingham shirt, £49, shirt, £55 and dress, £65

What are your tips for styling prints this season?

Justin: Don’t be frightened of prints, you can just clash them together. People worry too much about wearing it with something plain but they don’t need to. If it’s a blouse, you can of course go with jeans, but a gingham skirt with a printed shirt would look super cool.

So, how do you make working as a couple, well, work?

Justin: It just works for us. What we like is that we experience things together. We’ve been fortunate to go to amazing places together, go to great parties and meet interesting people and to do it together is a privilege.

Thea: Having two of us, because we’ve got kids and trying to juggle all these different elements, it means we can divide ourselves too.

It's a tough choice, but what's been your career highlight so far?

Thea: Getting invited by Michelle Obama to have dinner at the White House! We got to bring someone each so we brought our mums and it was amazing. She really changed the way women dress, she’s been so experimental with her style.

Justin: And of course every time Kate Middleton wears one of our designs, that red dress she wore on her trip to Canada was already popular but it sold out immediately and we’ve been having to re-stock it ever since.

Studio by Preen is available to buy in store and online now at Debenhams.

Penny Goldstone

Penny Goldstone is the Digital Fashion Editor at Marie Claire, covering everything from catwalk trends to royal fashion and the latest high street and Instagram must-haves.

Penny grew up in France and studied languages and law at the Sorbonne Nouvelle University in Paris before moving to the UK for her MA in multimedia journalism at Bournemouth University. She moved to the UK permanently and has never looked back (though she does go back regularly to stock up on cheese and wine).

Although she's always loved fashion - she used to create scrapbooks of her favourite trends and looks, including Sienna Miller and Kate Moss' boho phase - her first job was at, sourcing the best deals for everything from restaurants to designer sales.

However she quit after two years to follow her true passion, fashion journalism, and after many years of internships and freelance stints at magazines including Red, Cosmopolitan, Stylist and Good Housekeeping, landed her dream job as the Digital Fashion Editor at Marie Claire UK.

Her favourite part of the job is discovering new brands and meeting designers, and travelling the world to attend events and fashion shows. Seeing her first Chanel runway IRL at Paris Fashion Week was a true pinch-me moment.