Designer Diaries – Duchess of Cambridge and Jenny Packham

Jenny Packham is a British designer, who royal-watchers most likely know from the dresses worn by the Duchess of Cambridge. Packham, however, has been around a while. Like McQueen and Sarah Burton, Packham graduated from Saint Martin’s School of Art. She showed her first designs in 1988, at the London Design show. She has built her design house into an empire, including ready-to-wear, resort, bridal, accessories, and lingerie collections.

Packham inherited her first sewing machine from her grandmother Gertrude, at age six. She has spent her entire life drawing inspiration for clothes design from her observations of everyday life, from historical influences, and from nature. She keeps notes and drawings, documenting color combinations and shapes, in a sketchbook which she carries around constantly. Her designs flow with the body, with a focus on rich fabrics and feminine details.

Catherine has worn Packham designs from her earliest Duchessing days. She must find the designs wearable because she chooses them for a variety of events, many of which include a lot of bending, leaning, and in general, much movement.


Kate in a suit is always a nice change of pace She tends to wear dresses for her more formal outings. Below is a custom maternity suit worn in February 2018. An early suit which was worn to the wedding of Emily McCorquodale’s wedding needs another appearance, I think.


I tend to prefer the Packham dresses that are on the bold and simple side. The top dress was worn for a visit to the Imperial War Museum, and it is appropriately serious without being too somber. The dress worn when leaving the hospital with Prince Louis is bright and happy, just like his mum.

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Embed from Getty Images


The sparkly bright evening gowns are not everyone’s cuppa, but I like a little zazz every once in a while. You certainly can’t miss her in either one. The silver sparkler was worn to the Tusk Awards in 2013, shortly after the birth of George. The pink gown is simply lit with Swarovski crystals on a mesh overlay. She originally wore it in 2011, the first time she had worn a gown by Packham.

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Packham’s first book “How to Make a Dress”, will be released on September 1, 2021. More of an autobiography than a design how-to book, it is available for pre-order on Amazon.