Jenny Packham: you have to ‘fall in love with a dress’


Jenny Packham is a leading British designer, specializing in party dresses, evening gowns and bridal wear. Honored as Hollywood Style Designer of the Year 2006 and British Bridal Dress Designer of the Year 2007, Jenny Packham's luxury design house has gained international renown.

Her celebrity clients include Keira Knightley, Beyonce, Mary J. Blige, Alicia Keys, Nelly Furtado, and Sarah Jessica Parker.

This week Packham presented her new eveningwear collection as part of the Russian Fashion Week "Autumn/Winter-2009", the biggest fashion event of its kind in Russia. After the show, she gave an interview to RIA Novosti correspondent Narine Prazyan.

- How do you feel when you see celebrities wearing dresses designed by you?

- To me it is what we call ‘the icing on the cake'. To me it's very important to design a dress, and I think it's good when somebody buys it, and buys lots of them. And I think if a celebrity chooses it then that seems better really.

- Have you always wanted to be a designer?

- Yes, always. I mean I started when I was about eleven making my own clothes. I didn't ever make a conscious decision, but I've always wanted to do eveningwear as well.

- What inspires you when creating evening and wedding dresses?

- Well, it's just so enjoyable really. I have a fantastic team of people now, and to make a collection is an opportunity to really show what they can do, with cutting, manufacturing... What inspires me is making more and more glamorous, beautiful evening dresses. And every time I try to do something better than I've ever done before.

- Jenny Packham dresses have become must-haves among Russian celebrities. How do you explain that?

- I know it sounds slightly corny but I think with a wedding dress, and I have to say the same of an evening dress, I think that someone has to fall in love with a dress, they have to really want it. And when I design a dress I have to give it those qualities to make someone think: "Oh, I have to have this dress, I feel so fantastic in it!" Hopefully they felt like that. That they have to have one.

- Do you have your own favorite dress? Could you describe it? Who is the designer?

- I know it's very general but I have a beautiful Prada dress. I think for me Prada is something to really aspire to. The manufacturing, the beauty in the cutting... But generally I wear a lot of black, quite simple clothing.

- Is there a celebrity you would particularly like to design an evening dress for?

- I would love to design a dress for Nicole Kidman or Kate Blanchett. I think for me they are kind of personified... sort of feminism, it is very appealing really, they are very contemporary.

- In one of the interviews you said that your eveningwear is designed for contemporary women living in the city. What do you think of historical clothing? Would you like to create a collection for a historical movie, for example?

- Especially with bridal wear, I did a whole load of research on it. And I did a lot of work on the history of bridal wear. When I was at college I did a lot of history of fashion and I think the more you know about the history of things, for example, why women wear white dresses, the more you understand, the more depth there is to your designing. So I think it would be a challenge to do a film. And I think recreating an old garment is a great thing. If you know the Marie Antoinette film, she recreates the old garments in a really modern way. I think that would be interesting. To recreate old garment is interesting, if you can do something to it to liberate it. I think it would be great. 

- It's not the first time you're taking part in Russian Fashion Week. Would you say a few words about it, about the Russian fashion market in general?

- I think there is such enthusiasm here to really create a fashion industry. You have two fashion weeks, it's incredible. You know Milan, for example, has only one fashion week. I think there is so much here to get into. And you know we always have such a great time here, it's always such a joy to do.  

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