The Jenny Packham girl is getting cooler. While Spring channeled Marilyn Monroe with sugary pastels and bugle beads, Packham’s inspiration for Fall was a little dark. A trip to the Prado Museum in Madrid afforded her a closer look at Spanish artists like Velázquez, Goya, El Greco, and the lesser-known Raimundo de Madrazo y Garreta; years apart, the painters had loose brushstrokes, dramatic themes, and deep, saturated colors in common. A room full of Garreta’s salon-style portraits of society women particularly caught Packham’s eye. “They seemed like they were really enjoying being dressed up, and I suppose not much has changed,” the designer mused.

In lieu of a full-on Spanish collection, Packham’s main takeaway was lots of texture. Lace and velvet were lifted from those paintings, and she played with sequins of every size, from microscopic specks of glitter to giant paillettes. In the past, she has leaned heavily on Art Deco motifs, but that stale reference was happily missing here. Instead the embellishments took on a softer, more organic quality, like the bits of silver on a nude body-skimming dress. The opening look featured a belted coat so encrusted with paillettes that you wondered if it could stand up on its own. It was stunning, but it sounded like a rainmaker as the model breezed by. Packham used the technique on a few mid-length skirts and long cardigans, too. Those pieces were more conceptual than anything she’s done in recent seasons, but could anyone actually get away with wearing them? Not only were they noisy, but they looked pretty heavy, too.

Of course, Packham’s territory is really the red carpet—she’s dressed everyone from Charlize Theron to the Duchess of Cambridge. Either of those women would look great in one of the collection’s simpler ankle-length gowns, while the ball skirts and sheer tops were suited for pretty young things like Taylor Swift.

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