Jenny Packham F/W 2012: Black Magic
Billows of smoke appropriately served as the backdrop to a sultry, dark yet romantic collection inspired by the femme fatales of 40′s film noir for Jenny Packham F/W 2012. The British designer had a very specific woman in mind of whom the collection represented. Her persona was summed up in the words of Don McPherson’s 1986 book Leading Ladies. “She was almost always bewitchingly glamorous, slow to befriend and swift to betray, a haunting and often malevolently dangerous vision which could lure a man to his doom, or bring him to despair.” Haunting and malevolently dangerous she may be, you can’t help but fall victim to her black magic.
Some might be surprised by Packham’s venture into darkness, given the ethereal, princess-like gowns worn by the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, which have truly put Packham on the map. However, those more familiar with Packhams dynamic list of cliental will realize there’s mass appeal in all of her designs, and her aesthetic calls out to women from dark minimalist Angelina Jolie to sexy burlesque siren Dita Von Teese, who sat front row at the show. Von Teese sported a look which emphasized her role as Packham’s obvious modern-day muse in a black Jenny Packham Fall 2012 cocktail dress, paired with cat-eye shades and a red rouge.
Reviving the ’40s meant wide shoulders, cinched waists, plunging necklines and silhouettes characterized by the power of sleek. These noir style traits were displayed in form of fitted knee length cocktail dresses, halter neck jumpsuits and a variety of floor length gowns. The luxurious fabrics were predominantly silk crepe, beaded tulle, satin chiffon and soft satin, embellished seamlessly with crystal, sequins and silver studs. The mood was emphasized in the color palate which featured contrasty deep red, pale oat and naturally stark black. However, towards the latter end of the collection Packham brightened the horizons with pale pinks and baby blues. Adding to the vamp of the collection were the gorgeous retro chignon and merlot lip beauty looks that secured the old Hollywood look consummately.
While the collection settled in the past, the runway music was a juxtaposition between then and now. DJ Rene Goulet’s opening number featured Ol’ Blue Eye’s daughter Nancy Sinatra’s hit “Bang, Bang” as a dubstep remix which served as a perfect companion track to designs dripping in nostalgia. Even Von Teese commented on the dubstep tracks tweeting “Film noir glamour plus a dubstep soundtrack. Nice.” Goulet’s following song choices strayed away from dubstep and featured modern artists such as Anna Calvi, Mr. Little Jeans, and all-girl band Woo Woos whose electronic track “Fizzy Lettuce” was a friendly reminder that we were not actually in the midst of a ’40s cinema piece.
Lauren Valenti is founder of fashion and music website, TheVogueVibes.com , as well as a Contributing Editor to the My Fashion Database Blog.