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Celebrating 30 Years of Jenny Packham

Our exclusive interview with iconic bridal designer Jenny Packham to find out about her latest collection, the history of the brand and the secrets to its success

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Jenny Packham
Jenny Packham

How did you start out? What’s the history?

In 2006, we launched our London bridal flagship in the heart of Belgravia on Elizabeth Street, followed by the opening of the brand’s London flagship evening wear store on Mount Street, Mayfair in 2008. The brand’s portfolio continued to grow with the launch of our accessories boudoir in the same year. Now the bridal boutique is housed within the London Flagship on Mount Street, a street which has become a destination for international luxury fashion.

In 2009, the Paris flagship opened, just off the Rue Faubourg St Honoré and the brand has continued to grow internationally with our most recent expansion – the opening of our first in-store boutique in 2015, in Seoul, Korea – in partnership with Soyoo Bridal. This year marks our 30th anniversary. To celebrate this milestone, we brought our bridal show back to London, presenting the 2019 Bridal Collection to international press and buyers via an intimate show at The Ritz Hotel. To present the latest collection in London with the team was a very special moment.

When did you first move into bridal?

Our first bridal collection launched in 1997, at a time when beautiful ball gowns were de rigueur for brides. Our signature style: soft and romantic with vintage inspired beading was a complete contrast to current trends. This signature design aesthetic transformed the bridal industry and remains integral to our designs.

Can you tell us a little about your latest collections?

The latest collection was inspired by the hedonism of the 1930s. I love the novels of F. Scott Fitzgerald and often return to the perceived romanticism of this elegant age. I am very proud of this collection and think there is a lot of variety – our brides vary across our major markets so it is important that the collection caters to different styles and traditions.

The collection incorporates a variety of fabrics and techniques from soft tulle to layers of silk chiffon, crepe and delicate lace. It is textural: rich from hand embroidered fl oral bodices to crystal starburst embellished capes, star motifs and fully sequinned gowns. This season we also introduced jumpsuits and palazzo trousers for a more modern bride.

Do you have any favourite pieces?

May, an ivory silk chiffon gown with a tulle overlay and delicate fl oral embellishments is one of my favourite pieces and is a current best seller along with Juniper – an embellished tulle gown, which is quintessentially Jenny Packham in its design.

What influences your ideas?

I work with a very creative team and together we are always looking to keep the collections exciting. The modern bride is looking for more detail and contemporary designs, which in itself is an inspiration.

Can you tell us a little about how you work with your retailers?

Jenny Packham’s collections are stocked internationally in beautiful boutiques around the world. Our relationship with our stockists is one that we greatly value. We host regular Trunk Shows with our stockists, offering boutiques the opportunity to showcase the latest Jenny Packham collections, providing brides with the chance to see a wider range of the collection in their local stockist. Hosting exclusive regional catwalk shows and intimate salon previews are a lovely way to present the collection and I always love meeting Jenny Packham brides-to-be.

How do you promote the brand – where will we see you in 2018?

The strategy has been to build the brand through a focused PR and Marketing plan targeting our key markets: UK, USA, Italy, The Middle East and Asia. We also invest in a targeted VIP dressing programme and work with a wonderful agency in Los Angeles. We have a dedicated in-house PR team coordinating editorial in key publications internationally.

Direct marketing through our digital platforms is key to sales and more valuable than ever. Last year, we launched the Jenny Packham Bridal Instagram handle and, with a vast combined following of over 450k across social media, promoting our collections globally across these platforms is imperative. We have a strong international advertising presence, too – our collections are photographed by world renowned photographers and our annual bridal campaigns are placed in prestigious print titles and digital outlets.

We loved the recent collaboration with L.K. Bennett – how did this come about?

There is a strong synergy between the L.K. Bennett woman and the Jenny Packham bride, so it seemed natural and very exciting for me to collaborate with the newly returned Linda Bennett and her team. A project of passion, the combination of the Jenny Packham aesthetic with the renowned quality of L.K. Bennett has resulted in a beautiful collection of shoes and bags that I am very proud of. The collection is available internationally in stores now. We also launched an edit of exclusive blue shoes at the 2019 Bridal Catwalk Show, which were available to purchase straight from the runway.

What does the future hold for you?

After presenting our RTW collections at NYFW, as part of our anniversary celebrations, we are delighted to announce that we will return to London to present the SS19 Collection with a very special catwalk show at London Fashion Week this September.

Who are your design idols?

A bridal muse for me has always been Elizabeth Taylor when she married Richard Burton. She wore canary yellow with white flowers in her hair. It was so beautifully unique and fresh.

Finally… Can you tell us your trend predictions for the season ahead?

Bride’s styles have definitely changed over the years – I love looking through the archive and seeing how the designs have evolved and how certain trends seem to come back into fashion. This year, fuller silhouettes are having another moment. Lucille from our latest collection features a floral embroidered bodice with a statement tulle skirt.

If you enjoyed this, read: exclusive interview with bridal shoe designer, Diane Hassall.


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