JENNY PACKHAM: OH, TO BE IN ENGLAND

BRINGING BRITISH STYLE TO SPRING/SUMMER 2013

I know that Jenny Packham is British.  I don’t necessarily know if it’s what inspires her, but it is certainly a palpable part of every one of her designs.  I can’t help thinking “Mod” when I see this season’s collection, especially in her dresses.

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For Spring/Summer 2013, it was all about shine.  There were sequins, sparkles, beads and mirrors.  This collection is for the girl who likes a good party, who knows how to have a good time. Her notes said her inspiration came from Hollywood actors, gambling and Vegas.  It all sounds so retro, but make no mistake, everything that came down that runway was as modern as it gets.

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A short, shiny silver dress was made for a party.  The design was simple, the  execution, brilliant.  It also came in skirt and jacket form, which was somehow even more beautiful.  A group of whites came out that looked crisp and clean but so wearable, and the bling there was kept to the sleeves. A girl’s summer dress came in a cool blue, but containing a lot of shine.

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The entire collection was girly, feminine and very grown up, much as I suspect the designer must be.  A long, black-and white polka dot dress was the perfect example of that.  It was sleek, elegant, and very young.  Yet I don’t want to give the impression that this is a collection you have to be 15 to wear.  The level of sophistication means it can cross a lot of age groups.

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You could easily go through each piece in the collection and rave about its style, its texture, the clean lines and joyous shine.  There wasn’t one miss.  But there were so many standouts.  A gown in a kind of chess-board print was magnificent (actually, a variation of this design showed up in a few items). The soft color palette was interrupted only by the odd black piece or a couple of pops of orange. And the final showstopper, a white gown with an attached cape made only of bling, defied design.

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This is another show that I look forward to every season.  There’s something about seeing Jenny Packham’s designs that bring a sense of calm and beauty.  She is the classic English rose.  I’m just glad she shows her goods here in New York.

Photography: Anton Brookes

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