Pret-a-Reporter

Blake Lively, Frida Kahlo and 29 More Muses Inspire Jenny Packham's Spring Collection

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
A look from Jenny Packham's spring 2017 show

Stevie Nicks and Iman are also among the 31 women who inspired the red carpet-ready collection.

What do Blake Lively, Frida Kahlo and Joan Jett have in common? 

Well, aside from being kick-ass independent women, they belong to a group of 31 muses (which must be some sort of record) for British designer Jenny Packham's spring 2017 collection.  As diverse as the group is-- Anjelica Huston, Catherine Deneuve, Emily Blunt, Iman and Stevie Nicks are also included — it became clear as the show progressed how each one inspired a detail here and an embellishment there.

For example, an embroidered black-and-white matching shorts set was inspired by the flowery works of Frida Kahlo, and a tailored blazer was reminiscent of Charlotte Gainsbourg's easy, French style. Even the runway playlist featured songs by Nicks, PJ Harvey and Courtney Love. 


CATWALKIN': Models at Jenny Packham's spring 2017 show. (Photos: Getty Images)

Of course, Packham's collection was as elegant and intricate as ever, with each red-carpet ready look bearing the signature embellished details and precise craftsmanship that have made her a favorite of everyone from Kate Middleton to Kristen Wiig and America Ferrera. Pret-a-Reporter caught up with the designer post-show to find out just how her list came together.


INSPO: The full list of muses for Jenny Packham's spring 2017 presentation. (Photo: Sam Reed)

What was the idea behind 31 women in particular? How did you choose each woman?
Peggy Guggenheim, the art collector of the last century, had an exhibition in 1943 in New York and it was called 31 Women. She put together 31 women artists and it was very controversial, so I just stole her idea, really.

[The women are] very, very diverse — we've got Elizabeth Taylor, Courtney Love, Frida Kahlo, Catherine Deneuve and modern women that we love to dress as well.

[The group] is quite eclectic, there’s a lot going on there. I was looking into each one of those style icons and kind of pulling one thing. Like Iman, for example, we had a look that was brightly colored and plunging.


FULL RANGE: Models at Jenny Packham's spring 2017 show. (Photos: Getty Images)

Thirty-one women — who are all very diverse — that's quite a lot. So did you just pick one element from their personal style?
Sometimes it was just a color they wore — or like Catherine Deneuve, a big ruffled neck. So they’re not instantly recognizable, but they’re there.

Was it hard to narrow it down to 31?
It was really hard. I could’ve done 331 women!

You’ve chosen a lot of Hollywood names — did you have the red carpet in mind?
Well we have a lot of musicians as well — Stevie Nicks, PJ Harvey. It was nice to sort of mix all types of artists in there.

Was there a specific quality that each woman embodies?  
Well the thing is, they’re all very strong, confident women. You know, they didn’t really like when Peggy put on an exhibition of surrealist women but she didn’t give a damn what anyone thought. And I think Courtney [Love] and all of these people — they created their own style because they were able to step out of the norm at the time.

Who would be your 32nd woman?
Marilyn Monroe, but we did a whole show inspired by her a couple of seasons ago so I thought that she might get spoiled. 

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