bryanboy tweeted not too long ago that style.com and other runway photography sites should include images of the back of garments and I couldnt agree more. There are so many intricacies that are already lost in photographs.. the zippers, the fabrics, the textures, the contrasts.. all the details that actually matter. But even more of an issue is the fact that people can only see the front of garments online.
I wish I could have seen the Victoria Beckham Collection in its entirety, the backs included. Then I think I would have had such a greater appreciation for her collection.. (I wrote about how I wasnt blown away by her most recent army of dresses). Here’s a detailed review of the collection and VB’s history from Times Online that really solidified my love for Victoria. Check it out!
It may be indelicate. But if you’d choose to describe Victoria Beckham as a “hot mom”, then fair enough. However there are better times (and better places) to do this than to her face at 11am on Valentine’s Day in the £19 million townhouse on East 63rd Street where she is showcasing her latest ready-to-wear collection.
Sadly, nobody pointed this out to the campish American fashion hack who did precisely that (in unprintable terms). As Mrs B cried “No!” in a vain attempt to forestall him, he inquired whether she ever worried that one day Brooklyn, Romeo and Cruz might discover that their friends had more than cookies on their minds when they came to hang chez Beckham.
In unison, the clutch of top-tier editors — from publications including American Vogue, Vanity Fair and Le Figaro — laughed two octaves higher than is entirely comfortable. Then Beckham neatly defused the situation with an elegant response, and bid everyone — but The Times’s Lisa Armstrong and me — adieu. As they oozed off towards the marbled doorway, she turned to us, held up her hands and said: “Look, my palms are sweating!”
As well they might have been. Because for this, her fourth collection, the eponymous figurehead of the newly christened Victoria Beckham label faced the fashion pack head on — and, for the first time, she won them over completely. From the New York Post to Women’s Wear Daily via Style.com, every review has been a rave or near-rave. And this has been a genuine critical response, unsullied by over-zealous PR or indirect kickbacks: as Beckham is not yet a significant advertiser, none of the reviewers had any reason to be anything but honest.
Beckham, it is belatedly being realised, might yet — in her own way — become just as notable a young female British designer as the vaunted trinity of Hannah MacGibbon, Stella McCartney and Phoebe Philo. But because fashion is intrinsically snobby — although most fashion people would call this “discerning” — Posh (as she was never sincerely called), has been a difficult sell for many. Only a few years ago British High Street PRs sniffed that they dreaded seeing Posh wearing their clothes.
Now, though, she has broken them down; primarily through the quality of the clothes, but also via disarming touches such as admitting her relative ignorance. Take this cheery New York confession: “Look, it’s a very basic way that I am doing this. You can see that from the gold dress. The drape has literally been draped on me. We tied it in a knot. And I thought ‘that looks really cool — I like that’. Technically it’s probably not the right way to do things. But there’s a really fun, playful atmosphere in the studio.”
Later, she adds: “I have had to prove myself. But that’s a good thing: everybody has to prove themselves, not just me . . . I want to grow as a designer, I want to learn the techniques and do more and more.”
Part of this self-imposed initiation is Beckham’s decision not to show the collection as a traditional show. Instead Beckham semi-masochistically subjects herself to intimate presentations at which she commentates on each of the 25 or so dresses.
This year, she tells us in a nervily stiff voice, she has taken “a more sophisticated and daring approach to our evening wear”. Which translates into a series of 1930s and 1940s siren-wear-inspired dresses for the modern knock-out. All heavily corseted, in raglan, silk, crepe or wool, they have a confident simplicity zinged up by soft-touch details including neck folds, gold zips, narrow little belts and a Dick Tracy inspired print on her beloved Cloud Dress. Most of the collection comes in either black or fleshy silk, but the odd flash of colour — in sapphire, emerald or ruby — is eye-catching without being brash.
Yes, Victoria Beckham is a (crocked) footballer’s wife, but nobody — even the snobbiest of those snobs — can call this stuff vulgar. The most important critics of all — the consumers — have already worked this out. From Corso Como, to Net-a-Porter, to Selfridges and Bergdorf Goodman, the international outlets that stock Beckham’s dresses all report a near-to-100 per cent sell through.
Next season’s collection has already been swooped on by Beckham’s new celebrity clientele: in the past couple of weeks Cameron Diaz wore the one-shouldered gold jacquard dress to theVanity Fair Oscars party, Demi Moore opted for the sapphire silk column dress, and last week at a White House do Sarah Jessica Parker went for a Victoria Beckham number in cerise. This is an extremely good hit rate. Or, as Beckham says: “The support has been fantastic. And it’s been great that it’s been on lots of different body shapes as well. There have been tiny people wearing the dresses, such as Madonna, and then Jennifer Hudson wore one at the Golden Globes. The way the dresses have been constructed means that they are really flattering.” Flattering to Hudson, and certainly to the super-skinny models at her presentation.
Madonna is the only person to whom Beckham has sent an unsolicited freebie. It was a black-bodiced, ivory-skirted version of a corset dress that she spotted Madonna wearing for an American fashion shoot. And considering the competition it must have faced, that Beckham freebie got an impressive airing: Madonna wore it for her birthday supper last August at the Hotel Splendido in Portofino.
All the Victoria Beckham collection is made in London. And Beckham insists that she now sees design as her full-time, long-term job. “And,” she adds, “I think my middle son thinks that he is going to take over. Romeo likes to get involved.” He certainly has a good name for fashion design. Yet despite her commitment to the company’s London HQ, Beckham says that her family has no plans to leave Los Angeles. “The kids are settled in school, and very happy. And we have a lovely team of people. I travel a lot — Milan, London — and the kids enjoy it, soaking up the culture.”
Creating a red-letter collection of red-carpet dresses is labour intensive. One dress in particular, that Cloud, took up days of Beckham’s time as she and her team strove to get it just so (“it was crazy the amount of hours, days and days, but I was adamant”). And, as Beckham so disarmingly concedes, she is learning on the job: “That’s how it works. I make it on me, to very much what I like.”
This is decadent, yet Beckham says that her fashion business is in profit. “We’ve relaunched the denim and the sunglasses. And we’ve got a fragrance that’s been hugely successful too. So it funds itself.”
As she speaks, her salespeople are with buyers, on another floor of the New York house, showcasing the Cutler & Gross sunglass collaboration and the denim line. The house, by the way, was used as Carrie Bradshaw’s dream penthouse in the Sex and the Cityfilm, and Beckham briefly fantasises about buying it — perhaps, one day, to be a New York flagship for her brand. “This feels like the first season where this could be the house of Victoria Beckham, if you like. The first time I went into a Tom Ford store, years ago, I was so impressed. I loved the feeling of it being Tom Ford’s house.”
Even facing the fashion critics close-up, Beckham is confident enough to team her simple-but-sexy new-season dress with unextended hair and straight-up make-up. “Things have changed,” she says, before unveiling dark news for St Tropez, “I’ve downgraded the fake tan and the big hair. I just wanted a more natural look — a much more natural look. And I’m not going back, either.”
Two fashion weeks later, at Roland Mouret’s RM show in Paris, I met the man who has backed both Beckham and Mouret: Simon Fuller. This new-generation fashion mogul (he now owns Storm model agency, the Fashionair website, as well as holding interests in both labels) said: “I have the utmost respect for the individuals. With Roland and Victoria I will not second guess them.” Later he added: “I believe in Victoria, because it is her passion.”
And you can tell. Because why else would Victoria Beckham feel the need to talk us through each dress, or point out again and again that she’s only new to the fashion game, or put up with a bunch of facile questions from a bunch of fashion journalists? It’s not as if she could do with the cash.
Apropos facile questions, when that guy came up with his “do you worry your sons’ friends will think you’re a hot mom” question, Beckham’s response was impeccable. She said: “As long as it’s not their girlfriends wanting to get their hands on my handbags, I don’t really care!” Then she added: “I wouldn’t really say that I’m a sexy mum. I’d say I’m a full-on mum. It’s a balancing act, as any working mum out there knows.”
As we tootle off to the next show, Victoria Beckham waves her now-unsweaty palms around her showroom and says: “This is very much me. I feel more confident in myself because I feel fulfilled, creatively and professionally. I’ve still got a long way to go, but I feel very happy. I’m in a good place in my life. And I don’t feel I have to prove myself as much as I used to have to.”
The original purpose of a belt was to hold up pants at the waist. Clearly, the belt has transformed from a practical tool into a stylish accessory. There were all sorts of belts on the runway in New York.. some for the practical and simple, some for the girly, some for the bold and brave, and some that were simply outrageous (in a good way!). Whatever your style, here are a few of the best of each category that may give you ideas on how to belt your blazer, coat, or your whole upper body!
Black & Simple: 3.1 Phillip Lim, Charlotte Ronson, Doo.Ri, Elie Tahari
Harness/Body Belt: Wayne, L.A.M.B., Michael Kors, Reed Krakoff
Belts with a Purpose: Betsey Johnson, Rag & Bone x2, Reed Krakoff
Thin & Pretty: Carolina Herrera, Chado Ralph Rucci, Jeremy Laing, Oscar de la Renta
“Not Your Usual” Belt: Jeremy Scott, Ohne Titel, Thakoon, Zero + Maria Cornejo
Studded, Embellished, Shiny: Victoria Beckham, Anna Sui, Preen, Diesel Black Gold
Again, this isnt a collection that I got a chance to see but my love for VB and her career and designs are just too great for me to overlook her Fall Collection. As style.com reported, Victoria personally greeted each of the guests at the town house where she presented her Fall Collection and she also narrated the story as each piece walked down the runway. How amazing it would have been for me to have been in that showroom!
VBs cuts are the most flattering and sell-able quality about her dresses and I believe she has a strong understanding of what looks flattering on a woman. She first began to wear her designs and I remember critics accused that an “average” woman couldnt fit into her dresses. Since then, the popularity of her dresses, especially in the entertainment/music business, has skyrocketed and her designs sell out quickly once they hit net-a-porter.
Style.com also did state, “there wasn’t one bad dress in the bunch”.
As much as I would love to agree that I loved all the pieces, there were a few of them that didnt really work for me. But VB did explain that this collection was about comfort (to some degree) and the draping and loose-fitting pieces were not a complete departure from her aesthetic. I love that there is color throughout the collection (although I was fine with her greys and blacks) and although I was a bit disappointed at first, at least VB is venturing off and growing her brand by “winning her a whole new class of fans”.
My favorites of the collection include:
After reading over this post, I cant believe I initially questioned VBs collection.. but I’m glad that I was able to voice my instant thoughts and really focus on what it was that I didnt find as appealing as her last collection. Maybe I just need VB to try on all the pieces. Just as important as the dress is, the person wearing the dress has to embody the VB look. Not everyone can pull off VB dresses as well as she can.. not even the models. Come on now.
I realized that so many people in fashion fall so much in love with a designer or his/her past collections that they automatically come to “love” every collection thereafter by the designer. I’m not saying that someone cant have a favorite designer/s and love the aesthetic, but I think its important to have an objective view as well. Just some thoughts that I’ve been having after a chat with Carine, who did say “I love everything that Diane does!”
Does she really? was the question I had in my head at the time.
Virgin America has upgraded my seat and now I’m flying in comfort. I’m connected to the Google in-flight wifi, complimentary for the holidays. After a long quarter and a not-so-great weekend, flight upgrade + wifi definitely makes things better.
I’ve gotten used to flying but I still dont have patience at airports. I always wondered how celebrities fly in and out of LA, New York City and Europe, but then I realized that they probably get premier seating, unlimited back/vip access, and first class treatment. Not bad at all.
Speaking of jetsetting, I think the couple who travels the most is definitely the Beckhams. David is always traveling and from LA and Europe for soccer and World Cup meets while Victoria is constantly moving between LA, Europe and New York City to make sure her growing fashion empire stays intact. David and Victoria are also very famous for their travel-wear. Most people dress down in sweats, uggs, flipflops, sweaters and track suits but the power couple travel in style.
Victoria Beckham Style by Jenna is a blog that follows David and Victoria’s every move. The blog is on my favorite blog list so you should definitely check it out. Here are some jetset outfits worth mentioning:
<promotional video for net-a-porter for Victoria’s S10 denim collection>
Victoria Beckham has made quite a name for herself. She has shed her Posh Spice and Cavalli/WAG image and is all about a clean, polished image. Her collections have had amazing success (google victoria beckham collection, and you’ll get countless hits) and established designers praise Victoria’s ability to create feminine, modern silhouettes. Despite the economic downturn, her dresses sell out the minute they hit net-a-porter. Most recently, her dresses were hijacked. Up to 50-75 dresses worth $575,000 were stolen last week. They are clearly in high demand!
Victoria launched dVb denim in 2004 under the Rock & Republic label. After a fall-out with R&R owner Michael Ball, Victoria split ways with the denim label. The success of her eveningwear collections have led to the re-launch/launch of Victoria’s denim and sunglasses collections. Victoria has taken her denim line in-house and renamed her line as the Victoria Beckham Denim Collection. dVb jeans under R&R were on the flashy side, with studs and embellishments in the shape of crowns and stars. Victoria’s new Denim Collection is all about sophistication, modernity, and clean lines. Her style and taste in clothing have undoubtedly evolved a great deal.
Her Denim Collection can be found at net-a-porter. Do you think her current design success will extend to her Denim Collection? Does she have the modern Midas Touch? What do you think about her style evolution? Dont forget to share your thoughts and comment! I’d love to hear from you.
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Rosemary Feitelberg’s (of WWD) interview with Victoria can be found here:
Victoria Beckham: A Celebrity Designer Driven to Succeed.