The world needs Jenny Packham. Or, at any rate, it needs designers like Jenny Packham—designers who make dresses that make women feel like movie stars, and movie stars feel like princesses, and princesses feel like the queen of the whole damn world. Directional fashion types may find it tempting to condescend to Packham, but there's a market for what she does—unless she does it badly.
This was a clunky season for Packham. And it made you realize, watching her sixties Vegas-inspired sheath dresses come down the runway, that there's a craft, too, in making straightforwardly glam frocks. Glittery Vegas should have been good source material for this designer, who's never met a sequin, bead, or crystal she didn't like, but like many a gambler, Packham went too far. There were just too many looks so over-dappled with embellishment that they looked heavy; the short dresses were OK, but the models had to muscle the floor-length gowns to the photographers' pit and back. Packham had a few interesting ideas, like creating a kind of flock pattern with sequins, and her dangling paillettes created a nice sense of movement. But the overall impression here was of a collection that—vintage references aside—just didn't feel modern.