As far as fashion goes, Kate Middleton definitely has her go-to’s: She’s partial to British designers as well as affordable brands like Zara and J.Crew. If you keep close tabs on her wardrobe, though, you know that the Duchess of Cambridge often falls back on two contemporary labels in particular—L.K. Bennett (usually for footwear and accessories) and Preen by Thornton Bregazzi (for its sleek evening and outerwear). So, we have a feeling that, come October 5, she’ll be scooping up the brands’ first collaboration, a capsule of 14 ready-to-wear pieces that pretty much have Middleton’s name written all over them.
L.K. Bennett x Preen brings together the best of both brands—sophisticated staples (such as long-sleeved party dresses, knee-length skirts, and collared shirts) and sharp, eye-catching details (like graphic prints and asymmetrical hems). In a statement, Justin Thornton of Preen says of the collaboration: “In working with L.K. Bennett, we loved the idea of reaching out to a larger audience, and giving the L.K.Bennett customer a slightly more directional product… The L.K. Bennett brand is about enduring ‘style and confidence’ and it’s these qualities that we were excited to design for.” Preen’s distinct aesthetic point of view made it easy to “enhance and enrich” L.K. Bennett staples with their bold patterns and sharp silhouettes, he adds.
The prints featured as part of this capsule are inspired by the work of Scottish watercolor artist Charles Rennie Mackintosh. “We based most of our prints, the graphic lines, and the main color scheme on these which you can see if you view all of the collection garments together,” Thornton explains. “We also built upon L.K. Bennett’s rich take on floral design, adding a touch of our own handwriting to the prints. Each was developed with a Preen attitude; that vintage but modern feel we often draw on and a sense of effortlessness.”
So, what does the collaboration between two contemporary British brands, both alike in chicness, look like? Jenny Walton, illustrator and Fashion Director at The Sartorialist, sketched one of the sure-to-be hits from the L.K. Bennett x Preen collection—the Vali dress, a floral-printed wrap style expected to retail for $695—which Glamour is revealing exclusively.
“Dress Vali is a great example of us drawing on an archive Preen design and adapting it with a new graphic floral print for the L.K.Bennett customer,” Thornton explains. “Designed in two color ways (black and red), it’s an endlessly wearable asymmetric wrap dress with a waterfall collar imagined on 100% silk.”
The long-sleeved, collared silhouette feels very traditional, with its belted waist and just-under-the-knee hem—however, the graphic, contrasting patterns (of the photorealistic florals and sharp white lines) give it a distinctly contemporary finish. And it’s already proving to be a favorite among the brands’ fan bases: Before the partnership was officially announced, Olivia Palermo was spotted wearing the L.K. Bennett x Preen Vali dress while attending the shows at London Fashion Week.
L.K. Bennett x Preen drops in full on October 5, with pieces starting at $295 and capping out at $825. Until then, the speculation begins: Which item will the Duchess be placing a personal order for?