Jenny Packham Resort 2023

When the first lockdowns rolled around in 2020, Jenny Packham faced a dilemma. As a designer whose livelihood hinges on eveningwear and bridal, should she compromise and lean into more casual territory, or stick to her guns?

Having run her business for well over three decades—weathering multiple recessions in the process—Packham savvily did a little bit of both. There were some easier, breezier pieces in her collections over the past two years, but she also remained confident that when those galas and weddings did return, her customers would not only come flocking back, but would be looking for the most flamboyant pieces she could offer.

Packham has been proven very firmly correct. A particularly fruitful decision was to partner with Farfetch, allowing her to deliver gowns to customers far removed from her flagship stores in London, Beijing, Shanghai, and Seoul. Her latest report from e-commerce giant saw her sales shoot up 300% year-on-year, and on the wholesale side, her sell-through currently sits over 80%. “It’s almost unheard of over the many years I’ve done this,” Packham said. “It’s really opened up the market for us, and we’re reaching places we were never able to before.”

In keeping with that sentiment, Packham’s new collection leans into decadence and freedom, taking as its strongest aesthetic cue the spirit of Truman Capote’s swans; in particular, C. Z. Guest, whose quote about pastels felt particularly appropriate for resort, Packham noted. “Pastels look magic poolside, they just do,” Guest is known to have said.

Pastels came to the fore here, from a powder blue sheath dress decorated with geometric sequins across the sleeves (and padded shoulders to give it a gentle ’80s twist), to a dazzling gown in a pleated gold lamé that recalled the Hollywood va-va-voom of Marilyn Monroe’s William Travilla dress in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Packham’s very English brand of feather-light flounce was on display too. A set of gowns lightly bedazzled with sequins and featuring dramatic feather-trimmed sleeves looked worthy of any garden party.

“I think people are being quite hedonistic about their decisions at the moment, and they want to make the most of everything,” Packham added. In these dresses, her customers will once again be able to do just that.

Read More, Vogue

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