How to dress like the Duchess of Cambridge
She is one of Kate Middleton’s favourite designers, but Jenny Packham also has a new range in high street fave Debenhams. Jane Hardy reports.
Her latest creation for the Duchess of Cambridge once again wowed fashionistas. As Kate stepped out of her car en route for a gala dinner ahead at the Royal Albert Hall in London to mark the countdown to the Olympic Games, her stunning teal Jenny Packham gown shimmered in the evening sunshine.
Of course, the bill for the royal number will have run into thousands of pounds, but happily Packham (47) is also bringing her individual style to the much more affordable Designers at Debenhams range.
Jenny (below), who lives with her family in central London and has shops in Mayfair and LA, trained at St Martin’s College and specialised early in what she calls “dresses for special occasions”.
Joining Debenhams’ stellar list of designers — John Rocha, Jason Conran, Betty Jackson and Ben de Lisi — seemed like a logical next step for the Packham empire. “I’ve had my own label for 25 years and they were the obvious choice for a collaboration.”
She says the company has interpreted her designs well and reproduced her top end style at good prices, ranging from £85-£160. There are 19 dresses to choose from in this first phase, and Jenny singles out a lovely red jersey dress from the new range as being quintessentially Packham. “It’s glamorous, with a little bit of beading that’s very fresh and will suit an awful lot of people.”
A favourite with celebs, Jenny has also dressed Angelina Jolie and Kate Winslet. She claims never to have met any divas when dressing the stars, but admits: “It can be nerve-wracking. They choose a dress and when all the work is done, and they’re pleased with it, I’m happy.”
Undoubtedly, it is her work for the Duchess of Cambridge — she also wore a pearly grey silk number to an art event last year — that has really made headlines. Jenny says: “There’s no way round it, you do get attention.”
In spite of the recession, she adds, we all still love fashion, because “when people get fed up with life, they want to dress up and if you look back, in times of economic depression, hemlines go up, and there are bright colours”.
Her new range certainly makes the point.