In celebration of Jenny Packham's 25th anniversary the Victoria and Albert Museum hosted an evening of free catwalk shows as part of their Fashion in Motion series. We caught up with the celebrated designer at the V&A's Raphael Gallery to talk dresses, celebrities and design…
Q: What is it like to join the ranks of Vivienne Westwood, Alexander McQueen and Erdem at the V&A and being honoured as one of their Fashion in Motion series?
Jenny Packham: "It's brilliant, it is such a beautiful place to show and quite daunting really to show the collection here because it is so grand. And with all the pieces in the museum too… We just wanted to make sure we made a big enough statement. We chose pieces from all of our collections and I really wanted people to go away feeling that they had seen a beautiful, glamorous fashion show rather than a retrospective."
Q: Looking back on your 25 years in fashion what would you say has been your highlight thus far?
JP: "I've had so many exciting moments, I've been very lucky. One moment that stands out was when we had our show at the Royal Opera House, one of our first shows, and suddenly the prima ballerina came down and said 'do you want me to do anything?' so we got her in a dress and we had snow falling down on the catwalk and it was a really magical show.
I think when we first started having catwalk shows for me that was quite a moment where I felt I had to step up to it, that was quite different for me, just being able to be so much more creative - working with the music and the set to make it work - and I've really enjoyed that."
Q: You are well known for your dreamy dresses and feminine designs, but what makes a beautiful dress for you?
JP: "If I look at dresses that I like from my designs and other collections, they are usually have an attitude behind them, a subtle attitude that would make the woman wearing it feel very confident. Sometimes it is an amazing colour, sometimes it's the beading or the cutting."
Q: In your Fashion in Motion show we saw a mix of evening wear and bridal, how does the process vary between designing an evening wear collection and a bridal collection?
JP: "It is different. Within a collection of evening wear there may be only one or two that you sort of think 'that would make a nice bridal dress.' But we very much design them as different collections - I think the bridalwear has to have something different - maybe it has an amazing back or it has some sort of detail on it that makes it special. And a lot of these [eveningwear] dresses you think 'oh, they could be wonderful in white', and actually they may be wonderful, but they might not be a bridal dress. As time goes on they are more and more separate, and they do take inspiration from one and other, from a silhouette point of view but at the moment I don't think people want big, blingy crystals [for wedding dresses], they seem to be going much more for pearls and opals, sort of softer looks so that itself if quite different."
Q: You've dressed everyone from the Duchess of Cambridge through to Vanessa Hudgens, which celebrity would you like to dress next?
JP: "I'm very keen to dress Cate Blanchett, I would love to dress her. And also Carey Mulligan, Julie Delphy, Juliette Binoche."
Jenny Packham; www.jennypackham.com