Jenny Packham just couldn’t let go of the wild era of ’30s Hollywood before the Hays Code, which restricted what could — and couldn’t — be seen on screen.
She took the age as inspiration for her pre-fall collection, but this season served it up with a twist, taking Anna May Wong, widely considered to be the first Chinese-American Hollywood star, as her muse.
“It’s Old Hollywood Part Two,” said Packham, who considered Wong a strong character and pioneer who forged a career in film despite the abject prejudice she faced. Packham riffed on some of Wong’s costumes as well as silhouettes from the period, which has been thrust under the spotlight with the release of “Babylon” earlier this year.
Among the standouts was a long, gold beaded wrap dress; a sequin gown with a sexy, cutout back, and a pillar-box red mini with a deep V-neck, power shoulders and crystal-encrusted sleeves.
Other gowns in black, soft pink or gold were made from stretch crepe with embellishments such as beading down the front; sparkly collars, or a shower of silvery sequins, all fit for strong characters.
Packham may be inspired by the Hollywood of yesteryear, but she has no problem dressing the stars of today.
She designed the bespoke outfit that Adele wore last weekend for a performance in Las Vegas, an off-the-shoulder crepe style with gold floral beadwork.
Packham kicked off the year dressing actresses including Anne Marie Duff and Rhea Seehorn for awards ceremonies.
Next up for Packham are special bridal and Ramadan capsule collections for Net-a-porter, and a dedicated collection of evening wear for Harrods.