Cheers to 25 years of celebrity dressing! When U.K.-based fashion designer Jenny Packham debuts her spring 2014 collection at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Sept. 10 as part of New York City's Fashion Week, the bridal and evening wear guru will celebrate a quarter-century on the catwalk. Launching her line in 1988, Packham has outfitted the likes of Catherine Zeta-Jones, Angelina Jolie, Kate Winslet, Diane Kruger and of course the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton to massive acclaim.
Voted Best British Bridal Designer in 2011 and 2011, Packham's Stateside praise has come largely thanks to Middleton, who most recently put fashionistas on notice when leaving London's St. Mary's hospital in Packham's blue polka-dot empire waist dress with her most precious cargo — son Prince George — in tow.
As Packham preps for New York Fashion Week — no doubt unveiling looks Middleton will soon rock next spring — Us Weekly rounds up five facts about the designer you might not know.
1. Following somewhat of a "punk" aesthetic in her younger years, Packham began sketching after things around her London family home got a little . . . animalistic, thanks to her older brother, zoologist Chris Packham. "There were smooth snakes coming down the stairs when I came home from school. I'd reach into the freezer and there would be a frozen peregrine falcon in there. He had animals everywhere," Packham recalls to the Telegraph. "Looking back, I probably withdrew into my room and started designing."
2. Her designs aren't just seen on the streets. Working with Sex and the City costumer Patricia Field to dress Kim Cattrall during the HBO TV series and films, Packham's clothing has also appeared on Gossip Girl and in the James Bond films Die Another Day and Casino Royale.
3. Though she counts Middleton and dozens of other A-listers among her fashion faithful, there is one celebrity Packham has yet to dress: Cate Blanchett. Telling the Telegraph she'd "love" to dress Blanchett, Packham adds that the Duchess — arguably her biggest celebrity style influencer — is "a dream to dress."
4. You don't need a superstar budget to rock Packham's frocks. While pieces from her namesake collection retail for a few thousand dollars each, items from No. 1 Jenny Packham — including accessories and children's clothing — are decidedly more affordable. Launched in April 2012, Packham's budget-friendly line ranges in price from $134-$253. Sums up Packham of her range of wardrobe items: "I love bridal wear because I'm part of people's history. I design evening wear because I think people treasure what I do."
5. Packham listens to her fans' feedback — and incorporates it accordingly. "I had a little handwritten letter from a lady in Wisconsin passionately criticizing me for the primrose yellow shift dress I made for the duchess," Packham told the London Evening Standard of the frock, which Middleton wore at a U.S. airport, suffering a near-Marilyn Monroe moment when her dress blew up in the wind. "She said didn't I know about putting weights around the bottom of a hem, so it can't blow up? But I did think maybe in future I will put in more weighting, just in case . . ."
Jenny Packham will debut her spring 2014 collection during New York Fashion Week on Sept. 10.
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