Jenny Packham is the latest designer to link with David’s Bridal to try to reach more brides.
With her considerably more affordable Wonder by Jenny Packham label, the Londoner will join the ranks of Vera Wang and Zac Posen, who also have diffusion lines sold in the 325-unit chain. The Pennsylvania-based retailer’s roster includes Oleg Cassini, Jewel, Melissa Sweet, Galina and other resources, including its own label.
This is new terrain for Packham, who is known for dressing the Duchess of Cambridge and who has also cultivated a loyal following on the red carpet, including Emma Roberts at the Emmys earlier this month. Started in 1988, her London-based label now features bridal, eveningwear, ready-to-wear and lingerie.
The first Wonder by Jenny Packham collection, which will include wedding gowns, dresses for bridesmaids, flower girls and mothers-of-the-bride and accessories, will arrive online and in stores in February. In a telephone interview Tuesday shortly after wrapping up the Wonder by Jenny Packham advertising shoot with Raf Stahelin in a Kings Cross studio. “It’s difficult when you have your own style to not follow a certain look so I imagine it falls quite nicely in line with what we do ourselves,” she said. “But obviously the David’s collection is designed as a separate collection so it isn’t just taking inspiration from our own collection.”
“The biggest difference is the fabrication and the budget. What’s attractive to us is that we can give more brides access to our designs, regardless of their budgets,” she said.
To get a better handle on the American market, the designer has visited the U.S. seven times this year instead of the typical three trips she takes to stage her runway shows here. She has seen more of the country than New York and Los Angeles through the trunk shows she hosts with Neiman Marcus. “I like very much working in America and putting the shows on there. I think there’s a can-do attitude, and I enjoy that very much,” Packham said.
Inspired by the Belle Epoque period of the early 20th century, the debut Wonder by Jenny Packham collection has nine wedding gowns retailing from $900 to $1,450. There is a crystal-encrusted dress with a ruched bodice and chiffon cap sleeves and a gown with crossover beading on the front with a pleated bodice and chiffon skirt. Soft, feminine and in some cases beaded, the dresses have a touch of Edwardian influence. “Very often” inspired by early films, museums, paintings and beading found on jewelry, Packham added, “With any bridal collection, I find it hard to have one inspiration for the whole group because I’m trying to appeal to so many different brides.”
Packham said she did not have any reservations about what notable clients might think of the David’s Bridal collaborations. “We’ve worked with our ready-to-wear and bridal customers for many, many years. We’ve sort of established ourselves at the higher end of the designer eveningwear,” she said. “We see lots of other designers doing both.”
Packham declined to comment if she is still working with the Duchess of Cambridge. She would say she has had meetings about developing a perfume, and candles were recently introduced through the British company Neom Organics. “We’re looking at different things at the moment. But for me, it’s whether I get on with the team,” she said. “Licensing obviously takes quite a lot of time and commitment. I don’t think there’s an easy way of doing it. You have to be very involved.”