no.1 jenny packham | uk wedding blog

facebook-profile-picture By Phoebe

Last Thursday was the launch of Jenny Packham’s new range for Debenhams, No. 1. It has been met with mixed reviews so I sent along head of So You’re Getting Married’s London division, Nimet (aka @lipstick_407) to investigate and report back with her thoughts…

The day after I learnt that Alice Temperley is to join forces with John Lewis, I attended the launch of another high end designer’s collaboration with a high street department store on behalf of Mrs Miller – the Debenhams launch of No. 1 Jenny Packham.  I took my friend and fellow bride to be, also called Jenny along with me.   I was a little apprehensive before the event as I knew the collection hasn’t received the best reception from many in the wedding industry.  But I decided to go anyway and see what I thought about it for myself – I am planning my wedding right now and I figured that girls like us are the target demographic.

On arrival, we were served bubbles and shown around the suite where the off the peg dresses and accessories were laid out.  The lovely Debenhams ladies explained that the majority of the line is aimed towards wedding guests rather than the bride.  We were only able to see the eight dresses and some of the shoes, headwear and jewellery  – the rest of the collection will be released throughout the summer.

Prices are budget-friendly which will be welcomed by a lot of ladies right now – they range from a tenner for a hair clip to £160 for a maxi dress. At these prices, you’ve probably correctly guessed that the collection is mass produced, so in quality terms, you’ll get what you pay for.  

Here are my favourite pieces from the evening:

Grey halo feather headband, £35, great for wedding guests.  

 Ivory feather stole, £100, I am looking for a nice wrap for the outdoor Thames-side first look portraits  at my November wedding… maybe a possibility?  Worried it swamps my 4’10” frame (yes, I am teeny weeny) and quite frankly it won’t actually keep me warm. 

Gold filigree collar necklace, £50 – I’d happily wear this to an Indian wedding with a saree.  

Silver meshed crystal clutch bag, £100 – a timeless piece for a bride or guest. 

All in all, it was a lovely evening playing dress up and talking to the lovely hosts.   I look forward to seeing more of the collection in real life as it’s released later on this year – especially the cute little girl bridesmaid dresses!

Nim xx

photograhs courtesy of Nimet and Jenny Packham 

So, what do you think??


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Emma Meek //

Over priced for quality that just looks High St at best! Much better artisan products are available online for the same price and the kind of quality shown her on the accessories look Primark level.

If Debenhams collaborations were as cool as H&M I suspect this would be a different story

You’ve sort of damned the collection with faint praise – but it really doesn’t look any lovlier than Debut at Debenhams for more money.

Nimet //

I wouldn’t say the accessories are Primark level but I do agree that some of the collection may be a tad over priced for what it is. I also agree that for a similar price you can get an artisan product that has been lovingly made by hand. This is a High St collection, and High St does tend to be mass produced – and with the JP name I think this was always going to be the case.

brideandchic //

It’s interesting that the ladies from Debbers advised that the collection was aimed at guests rather than the bridal party… maybe that’s why we’ve all been a bit underwhelmed? We did a post last week when it was first released and we found it hard to get excited about it which was really disappointing. Having said that, the coral coloured dress they are using for press looks like it would make a great bridesmaids dress and the flower girl dresses are a welcome change from Monsoon but other than that…meh.

My other thought, having worked in retail buying and importing for over ten years, is that there has been some sort of momentous cock up by the suppliers or buyers. Normally with the launch of such an anticipated collaboration the bulk of the collection would have been released in one go with a huge fanfare {think Matthew Williamson for H&M a few years back}. It seems to me however that it has been trickled out with no real substance to the clothing, the odd random dress here and there and of course we are well in to May, the start of wedding season, so would expect a full on range in stores by now.

Nimet //

I totally agree with your point about suppliers / buyers – this is prime time to get shopping for weddings so the entire collection should really be ready to buy now.

Charlotte //

You’ll probably recognise that a lot of the No.1 Jenny Packham range is based on styles from previous Jenny Packham collections. A bright pink one-shouldered dress featured only last year I think.

This is a high street collection, and they have high street prices, and so high street quality are therefore expected.
Considering that a Jenny Packham gown features lots of bead work, draping and ‘labour’, I think that these are actually very good copies.

My Mother did purchase the short gold draped dress, which the fabric was fine – high street quality – but the back of the dress was very plain. The dress seemed to be based upon a dress from the most recent show collection.
Because of the plain back of the dress, it did not suit my mum’s figure so she sent it back.
To get the same detail in the back of the dress, would have cost double the money, which my mum wasn’t prepared to pay.

I however purchased the floral tea dress – based on the Duchess tea dress worn in Canada – the fabric is lovely, the print is lovely, and the fit is lovely.

I suspect it’s always a tricky one stepping back to high street when your strength is luxury.
You can’t offer your full bag of tricks, or you’ll scare the richer customers away – why pay more? The exclusivity is gone!
Jenny Packham is all about luxury and detail – something had to be scrimped on to bring the design of the dresses down to high street prices, and if that’s in the quality of the fabric, then I don’t think they’ve done too badly at all.

I think it’s unfair to say that the accessories look like Primark quality, don’t you think most things in any store look as though they could be from Primark!!? From the photo’s above, the quality looks fine, maybe better than that. But I think that the accessories lack real the Jenny Packham trademark.

Nimet //

I think some people expected amazing quality high end JP items – in the High St this simply isn’t possible.