Jenny Packham‘s fall 2013 show was inspired by intellectual discourse in the sophisticated Paris salons of the 17th century. Or so says the PR info in the folder gently laid on my seat before the show. Packham delivered sophistication, undoubtedly. Stunning look after stunning look paraded down the runway, each one playing with some form of red carpet-ready embellishment. Particular favorites included cropped short-sleeved tops beaded in a delicate red flowering motif. Gowns that will surely be tried on by the likes of Kate Winslet (who is a Packham fan) and her A-list cohorts were also on parade in organza-overlaid, beaded and satin finishes. Bold hues of red and teal were shown along with cream and blush frocks, ensuring that no matter the wearer’s skin undertone, there will be an option.
Though I failed to see any obvious direct references to 17th century style, this collection absolutely called to mind romantic, intelligent conversations whispered in hushed tones by women of elite status, in an equally elite setting. The Paris salons of yesteryear are today’s foundation benefits, political fundraisers and seasonal award shows. There’s no question we’ll be seeing them again, worn by our modern sophisticates.