A disappointing trip to Las Vegas in April served as the starting point for Jenny Packham’s spring collection—a mélange of high rollers, Hollywood actors and free spending gamblers. “It’s my take on The Rat Pack,” she said backstage. “I wanted to design my vision of what glamour is when you think of Las Vegas.”
Packham makes no apologies that she loves designing eveningwear. But when you have an eye for the red carpet, not to mention bold-faced faithfuls as diverse as Kate Middleton and Angelina Jolie (Jordana Brewster and Minka Kelly sat front row), the pressure lies not in reinventing the wheel each season but, rather, how to create magic that will be seen—and critiqued—by hundreds of millions. To beautiful effect, Packham showcased a dazzling array of evening options, from a simple and loose silk dress adorned with ornate cuffs to a breathtaking, and slightly more structured, orange gown that was entirely beaded. A paint-splattered polka dot gown was a nice in-between option. “I thought, ‘let’s go bigger, let’s go for more special occasion pieces,’” she said. “But a lot of the collection is much simpler than meets the eye; there’s a deceiving quality to it.”
There’s a certain unspoken boldness that is to be expected when wearing a Packham gown. Glitz! Party! Holiday spirit! Monochrome made bold statements in dazzling geometric prints while a turn to the softer side resulted in chiffons cast in pale waterfall blues, soft eucalyptus greens and delicate lilacs. There was plenty of sparkle to be had, most prominently featured on heavy silk crepe gowns dripping with Swarovski crystals.
Ask Packham and she’ll tell you today’s Vegas—what with the rampant surgical enhancements and fake tans—was left on the cutting room floor in favor of yesteryear’s legends like Lauren Bacall, Shirley MacLaine and Angie Dickinson. “These are the girls who run with the pack instead of chasing after them,” she said.
- Jim Shi