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An Oddly Timed Ode to the British Empire at Jenny Packham

Outside the cold and the photographer gaze at the hairy hood to see who is worth taking. They do not know me when their faces fall. I like, “Whoa-don do you listen to podcasts to immigrants?”

Rain side, ruined my eyeliner, give me “desolate bride” looks very suitable for me. The whole scenario-disappointed stranger and long rain-reminds me in England, where I have lived. The original impression with the perfect fit for this kind of weather let me show what i want to see.

Jenny Packham

The program at Jenny Packham’s autumn/winter show outlines the inspiration of “the idiosyncrasies and clichés that define the British identity” and is accompanied by a Magda Archer print of a young Queen Elizabeth II, the words “God Bless You Ma’am” splashed across the front. I don’t think the label is being ironic, or subversive, with this devotion to the British monarchy—those extraordinarily wealthy white people who claim a right to rule. But any sensible person knows that there is but one queen, and her name is *whispers* Beyoncé. Actually, what am I thinking? Her name is *screams* Beyoncé.

Any sensible person knows that there is but one queen, and her name is *whispers* Beyoncé.

I have concerns about “the British identity.” I mean, isn’t it all tied up at the moment with, well, that awful little Nigel Farage, spewing hatred and drinking lager? But I suppose this is fashion, not politics, right? And maybe this show will reflect the creativity and diversity I saw when I lived in London! The 159 bus from Brixton is a fashion show, girls bright like parrots, blending thrift-store blazers and Primark miniskirts; black boys with fresh fades; and just youth, youth, youth.

Jenny Packham

My neighbor looks like a Kardashian. Not sock entrepreneur Rob—one of the girl Kardashians. At the end of the room, a bank of photographers waits, cameras glowing. Along with the program, we’re given a printout of a photo of Gillian Anderson in a white Jenny Packham halter-neck dress. I bloody love DSI Stella Gibson. In fact, part of me wants to move to Belfast and start serial killing just to get her attention. The Duchess of Cambridge is on the page, too. She is much praised for her safe, elegant outfits, and looks perfect in Packham. Come to think of it, that’s pretty much all she seems to be noticed or praised for. That, and her fertility.

At the top of the runway stands a stone doorway, wreathed in ivy—one you’d see on any broken-down castle in the Highlands. The lights dip and flare back up again. Billy Bragg’s “New England” blares, and the models start to march, careful to avoid eye contact as they swish past each other. They seem focused, on a mission; I imagine a dagger glinting someplace in their fabulous gowns, determined to draw blood. Then, at the last minute: a change of heart, turn away. Let them live.

Jenny Packham

Crystal tight underwear and satin skirt, plaid tulle dress, light blue leather jacket embroidered with British flag, corgi-print t-shirt. I feel should be funny, shameless, pretty things. This is definitely the latter. But the outside of the city took to the streets, the rise of the fissivals of the 21st century, the celebration and twitching of the country, the relatively simple typical British style felt a bit like pale tea.

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