Meet Jenny Packham: Designer To The Stars

Lindsay Judge   |   14-11-2023

If you aren’t familiar with the name Jenny Packham, you would have undoubtedly seen one of her elegant dresses. The British designer has become the go-to dressmaker for everyone from Catherine, Princess of Wales, to Sarah Jessica Parker, Adele, Paris Hilton, Angelina Jolie, and so many more in between. Packham’s feminine silhouettes, sequin-detailed gowns and eye-catching hues mean that she has become one of the most sought-after red carpet and bridal designers in the world.

Studying at the prestigious Central Saint Martin College of Art and Design in London, Packham was one of the first of a long line of alums that includes Lee (Alexander) McQueen, John Galliano, Stella McCartney, Phoebe Philo, Christopher Kane and more. After graduating, Packham launched her eponymous label in 1988, with her first designs presented at the London Design Show. Over the years, Packham has designed numerous iconic dresses and gowns. For the Princess of Wales, she designed the gold dress she wore to the London premiere of James Bond film No Time To Die, and she also created looks worn by Kim Cattrall’s character Samantha Jones in Sex and The City.

Packham’s design style is instantly recognisable. With sculptural silhouettes celebrating the female form, unrivalled craftsmanship and that all-important sparkle. Packham’s dedication to creating responsible, sustainable fashion is key to her success as she continually strives to reduce her brand’s environmental impact, incorporating ethically sourced materials where possible and promoting fair trade practices.

This month, Packham is launching her Resort 24 collection and an exclusive capsule collection at Bloomingdale’s Dubai. Inspired by the vibrancy of the ocean and her collaboration with Ocean Rising—an initiative from the Schmidt Ocean Institute and Nekton—the Resort 24 collection is a celebration of the deep blue. At the same time, the capsule is a colourful array of styles perfect for women in the Middle East. Here, we find out more about what to expect.

What can we expect from the Resort 24 collection?

The collection is vibrant with jewel-inspired colours and lots of sparkle. Featuring sharp, architectural crepes with powerful shoulders and sweeping silk chiffons. The Resort 24 collection exudes an attitude of modern femininity.

What can you tell us about your brand in the Middle East?

It has been one of our most important markets for many years. I have always found the client’s love of eveningwear so inspiring.

What about the exclusive Capsule collection at Bloomingdale’s Dubai?

The capsule features six styles in platinum, cherry blossom, and jewelled tones. I wanted the collection to encapsulate the energy of the wonderful events they will be worn to and reflect the glamorous women who wear them.

We used sumptuous light fabrics embellished with delicate beadwork on some of our best-selling silhouettes: a chiffon wrap dress, embellished caped gowns and column dresses with statement sleeves. My favourite look is a platinum-caped ball gown scattered with sequins and hot fix crystals.

What else is in the pipeline for the brand in the coming year?

I am currently designing our new Spring bridal collection and finalising our AW24 Collections, which we’ll be presenting in Paris early next year. We’re also designing pieces for a collaboration, which we’ll be announcing in the new year; I love that my work leads me to collaborative projects that push me out of my creative comfort zone. 

You have had an impressive career – what have been her biggest achievements over the years?

2023 marks 35 years of the brand. Fashion is a tough game, and you have to have the passion and the ability to adapt – so I think my biggest achievement is that I’m still designing and doing what I love.

You have dressed so many incredible women – are there any favourite looks you can share, and is there anyone you would like to dress?

I’ve been incredibly lucky to have dressed so many inspiring women from across the globe, including Adele, Paris Hilton, Angelina Jolie, Helen Mirren and Taylor Swift. I am always so proud of every one of our dresses that are worn on the red carpet; however, those with the wild anecdotes are always my favourite! We once made a dress for Kate Winslet in 4 days, our studio worked around the clock, and she looked iconic. I’d love to dress Cate Blanchett; I love her red carpet style. 

What inspires you, and when are you at your most creative?

Living in London, I am very lucky to have access to some of the world’s most amazing galleries and exhibitions, but there is something very rewarding about being inspired in the most unexpected places: a corporate boardroom or in a queue at the airport! Travelling always ignites my creative thoughts, and I often come back from a trip brimming with ideas for our next collection.

What is the professional motto you live by?

Be true to yourself, find a niche and don’t give up.

How would you describe your own style?

Like most women, I dress for myself and when shopping, fabrication and fit are very important to me. I love Dries Van Noten, and his use of prints and colours, and I have lots of his pieces in my wardrobe.