Napoleon’s youngest and favorite sister, Pauline Bonaparte, was the opulent inspiration behind Jenny Packham’s spring collection, induced by a visit to the British Embassy in Paris, once her home. Reputed to be the most beautiful woman in Europe of her time — and with a salacious reputation — it proved a rich backdrop for a glittering collection for 21st-century party girls.
Strong statement shoulders, cape details, tulle panels, crystal tassels and pearl embroideries — all inspired by paintings of the princess — adorned many of the elaborate designs, worked to include a palette of pastel shades like sky blue, powder pink and turquoise that were de rigueur at the time. At its most dramatic, a caped gown in gold baguette sequins had an ombré effect that was visible on several of the statement pieces, while a strapless balconette dress in champagne tulle was a reference to a bronze cup molded from Bonaparte’s breast. For the less outgoing, a black crêpe cocktail dress had a tulle neckline featuring a lattice of teardrop-shaped pearls.