“I get so inspired by my family,” Victoria Beckham said backstage at her show at the New York Public library. “I was in the kitchen one day and Romeo ran in with his baseball kit on and that’s what inspired those bright sporty collars on the dresses. And the beanie hats – they were inspired by the ones David is always wearing.” Beckham is a woman who knows how to reel in her audience with an anecdote almost as expertly as she knows how to execute a faultless collection.
This, her eighth outing for her mainline collection, was her strongest show yet. The show unashamedly explored the by-now trademarked Beckham look of body-conscious dresses that stop short of being blatantly sexy by dint of their elbow-length sleeves and high necklines. This season there is a nod to sporty and military looks, all expressed in what the designer described as “a silhouette I believe in”. She said: “I’m not pregnant any more and these are the clothes that I really want to wear.”
This confidence in her catwalk designs was echoed in the silent choreography of the show itself. For the first time David Beckham sat in the front row – in the past the footballer was banned for fear he would be too much of a distraction as Victoria Beckham sought to gain industry approval for her new career.
But with the accolade of Brand of the Year awarded by the British Fashion Council under her belt, she no longer has need of such careful manoeuvres. David played the proud husband, seated next to the Vogue editor, Anna Wintour, while the designer herself took her first ever catwalk bow – well, a smiling wave – at the end of the runway.
The show focused on day dresses, albeit high-voltage ones. Despite the show’s being in the middle of awards season, the designer steered clear of dropping any none-too-subtle catwalk hints to Hollywood. She doesn’t need to: more than one A-list actor is expected to give the Beckham evening wear an airing over the next couple of weeks.
This confidence carried through to the clothes. There were hints at earlier collections, with revisited themes explored more thoughtfully. The sculpted internal corsetry of the earliest collections was gone but had been replaced with rib-hugging canvas panels to lend structure – all the better for showing off a tiny waist.
Best was what can be described as the military body-con section. Khaki dresses snaked below the knee and had what looked like multiple parachute straps across the back. An army-green coat with gold buttons and a black python lapel and collar was a standout.
These ultra-luxury details, which, Beckham explained, were the result of experiments in her accessories line, are likely to raise the already substantial prices still further. But this was a tactic designed to mark out the mainline collection as distinct from her newer secondary line – Victoria, Victoria Beckham – which shows later in the week. Beckham said: “Certain dresses that might have been included in this collection in the past have been moved to the Victoria line to enable me to focus on construction.”
This show marked the consolidation of the brand, allowing the label to catch its breath before it doubtless moves to the next level of steady growth. Beckham’s formula of basing the brand within the parameters of what she wears in her own wardrobe is undeniably successful.
With that in mind, the inclusion of chunky baseball socks with flat biker boots was a styling curveball. An image of the designer landing at LAX in a military-detailed cocktail dress is easy to imagine. But picturing Mrs Beckham in biker boots? Less so.