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Jenny Packham speaks to ELLE

By Leisa Barnett

The Duchess of Cambridge’s historic exit from hospital, a newly-born future monarch nestled in Jenny Packham-clad arms, mean it’s all about one name in the fashion world today.

Such was the case last week, too, albeit on a quieter scale, when ELLE caught up with Packham at a historic event of a different kind: her Fashion In Motion show, which marks 25 years for her in the industry, at the V&A.

The excitement in the corridor outside the Raphael gallery was palpable as crowds of fans, for many of whom witnessing a catwalk show was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, waited to see Packham send some of her best and most cherished pieces down the runway…

How was it working with the V&A and how did that come about?

We spoke to them around last April. They came to us and said, ‘let’s do the Fashion in Motion’. I think it was just such a nice way to do the 25 years because it’s the public, and I know a lot of people love what we do. I love it when people who don’t normally see fashion shows see them because they find it so exciting.

Do you have a favourite piece from the show?

Well, the whole show is my favourite pieces, but I absolutely love the full, red sparkly dress that comes on right at the end. Then there’s a lovely shirt dress, with the De Gournay hand painted skirt, which I really find very elegant.

You have branched out into lingerie, accessories, bridal wear: what is your favourite line to design?

The eveningwear is where we started, and I love the challenge of putting on the shows. I know how critical the fashion press can be, so it really raises my levels of creativity, which I appreciate. With the bridal wear I love the fact that people show me their pictures about what I’ve done for their special day. It’s lovely that I’m a part of someone’s history.

What advice would you give to budding designers looking to start out in this industry?

It’s quite difficult for me [to say] because when we started up, we didn’t have the media to spread what we do. We couldn’t contact people from overseas in the same way. You had to stay up till three in the morning to ring somebody and try and get an appointment with them.

I think the people that really want to do it, that have a passion, will always find a way of getting there.

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