preennetaporter.jpgToday we headed out of Shiny Towers and into the sunshine to take a look at Net-a-Porter's Cruise 2009 collections (which won't hit the virtual racks for months, sadly). Designer press days are my idea of heaven - the only time I get to manhandle 3.1 Phillip Lim, Marc Jacobs and Jonathan Saunders without shop assistants hovering over me like I'm going to steal something.

The 'hero' pieces of the collection are from Preen by Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi, who are new to Net-a-Porter and known for their structured body-con shapes and very modern sensibilities (Time for a bit of CQ trivia - Isabelle met the design duo at a party once and bonded with Justin over their shared love of charity shops). The dress to your left may be familiar, as Agyness Deyn and Amy Winehouse wore the yellow version, and Gwyneth the black. Now it can be yours in fuchsia...

Spotting trends in Cruise collections is tricky because this is, by nature, a range aimed at rich women going on winter holidays. There's lots of predictably bright prints (especially from Pucci, Missoni and co) and colours like hot pink, International Yves Klein blue and acid yellow. Richard Nicoll's pieces (below right) were edgy but wearable and perfect for Net-a-Porter's savvy, high-end consumer.


What we were most interested in were the fabrics. 60s brocades and woven textures (see the Jonathan Saunders dress below left) and heavy 'grandma' textiles were there in abundance. Phillip Lim's beaded tunic dress (below right) was - eek - polyester, but that just added to the retro appeal. It doesn't photograph well but in real life it looked like the perfect vintage find.


All in all, there's some exciting stuff headed our way, and the accessories in particular are worth looking out (especially if you're on a budget - Marc sunglasses are so much more affordable than a Matthew Williamson dress). We'll let you know when the clothes hit the web.