British designer Jenny Packham is a favorite of the Duchess of Cambridge (aka Princess Kate) and Hollywood starlets. But for Packham's spring 2016 collection, presented during New York Fashion Week, she looked to pop icons from another era — Mick Jagger, David Bowie, Patti Smith, and Nick Cave — for inspiration to explore the dual nature of masculinity and femininity in her designs.
In her program notes, Packham quotes Susan Sontag, "What is most beautiful in virile men is something feminine; what is most beautiful in feminine women is something masculine."
The masculine nature comes through in Packham's first look, a '70s-inspired black and red floral-printed suit. Yet, except for a blue blazer thrown over a V-neck, long embellished tunic with fluid white trousers, and a sheer top and black trousers, the rest of the collection doesn't take Packham's inspiration literally.
Instead there are sequined minis with poufy sleeves and beaded gowns like rocker girlfriends might have worn to Studio 54 in another era.
Packham checks off the two big trends for spring, sheer transparency and florals, with some lovely tunics and gowns of embroidered flowers on transparent fabric, along with a floral jacket and trousers that return to the dual nature that she finds fascinating.
And she hedges her bets with a number of intricately beaded gowns for which she is known, along with those in bold shades. A green draped gown with a thigh high slit seems tailor-made for the princess.