“I like to put a bit of myself into my collections,” says Victoria Beckham. For pre-fall she followed the threads of the semi-autobiographical mainline show she put on in Paris: ideas stemming from the weekend country-life she lives these days on the one hand, and from her ballet-mad girlhood on the other.
In her London showroom, the continuity made a lot of sense as a collection informed both by her knack for styling—and by her detailed, practical empathy for making clothes that are interesting as fashion, but are also just useful for specific purposes. The contemporary-dance influence flows through her series of long, fluid dresses. Some have cutout necklines with wired curliqued inserts: “A sense of movement, freeze-framed,“ as she imagines it.
Dresses have always been part of the VB vocabulary—in fact, Nicole Phelps described her debut in New York spring 2009, as “a dress collection.” Almost 15 years on, her short, body-con dresses have been replaced by other more graceful signatures her audience relates to. Women keep coming back for her ankle-skimming takes on modern tea dresses, ingeniously color-blocked knit dresses, and that simple-sexy-sophisticated ruching device she slips into slip-dresses. “It’s flattering, creating an optical illusion of bringing the waist in,” she observes.
What’s newer, but also well-established by now, is her reputation for tailoring. That’s the side she refers to as “handsome feminity” in this collection—meaning the look of British heritage tweeds and preppy peacoats, styled together with turtlenecks, shirts, and cropped flares, or casualized with cargo pants or various permutations of denim pieces. She has a well-judged way of making these templates interesting as well as simple to wear. A country blazer has a shorn-off lapel, which is top-stitched down. A skirt has a cuffed hem and an asymmetrically placed zipper, pants have interesting collages of back pockets and exposed seams going on, and a suit jacket has cropped, elbow-length sleeves with a bit of raw lining hanging out of them.
These are details which set her clothes just-enough aside from being uptight bourgeois classics—not far-out, but cool enough for a woman who appreciates interesting construction. This season, VB finished off some looks with silk neckerchiefs printed in the same colors as her new fragrance collection. Other versions of the silk scarves were wound around leather bag-handles or wittily made into whole bags. Beckham clearly revels in subliminal branding. It’s subtly done, without recourse to too many logos, even though her empire now stretches from ready-to-wear and accessories to beauty and fragrance.