In the last couple of years, Brit Jenny Packham has emerged as a gown force to be reckoned with: after all, Angelina Jolie's sported her gowns, as have Kate Middleton, Kate Winslet and a lot more celebs on varied red carpets.
Packham's designs are as likely to turn up these days as Oscars or Zacs. But for spring, she left the embellishment and Hollywood beading behind, and opted for something else: opticals and a clean silhouette. Black and whites, and short, short shifts were a big part of the '60s-inspired collection -- as was a new gown shape-shifter: a long look gathered and folded and pinned at the waist, so the skirt falls in cascades with an opening down the leg at center. It was slinky and very I Dream of Jeannie. Yes, it had a bit of a harem feeling about it.
Instead of the brights of recent seasons -- and the metallics and shine of seasons past -- her palette was filled with fresh whites, clear orange, dove grey, a hot new hue in many collections, and opticals in silver and black or black and white. Her mini shifts -- only the under-30 set need apply (great for Emma Watson and Elle Fanning) -- were straight out of Mary Quant; but are Hollywood women really going to walk red carpets in itty bitty mini's? If so, let's hope they don't wear them with six-inch heels: the Vegas hooker look went out with Mischa and Lindsay, remember? Even Britney's well passed it now.
Minka Kelly, the ubiquitous Lauren Conrad (does she ever stay home?) and Jordana Brewster adorned the front row, so we could be seeing them in this new dress-up simplicity sooner rather than later. After many seasons of bright color, red lipstick, adorned shoes, giant necklaces and neon hair -- it's rather nice to see a well constructed pretty dress again.