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Victoria Beckham brings her brand home to London Fashion Week
This article was originally published by Refinery29, the leading next-gen media and entertainment company focused on women. The opinions in this article belong to the author.
On Monday, after 10 years of presenting in New York, Victoria Beckham returned to London, joining the London Fashion Week schedule to showcase her Spring-Summer 2019 collection and celebrate a decade of her brand. It was, as they say, a real fashion moment.
She's come a long way since the brightly hued body-con and cinched-waist dresses she offered with her initial collections, the aesthetic intertwined with her personal style at the time. Gone are the structured jackets and high-shine fabrics, and in their place, a wardrobe belonging to a woman who is contemporary, confident and cool.
The showstoppers included a tomato red ribbed co-ord with cutaway back detail and pink rope belt around the waist; trousers with spliced ankles in pastel blues and deep burgundies, and oversized leather bags with playful drawstring fastenings. Model Stella Tennant opened the show, wearing a white trouser suit, soft silver booties and a delicate white lace cami, a look that fused the femininity and masculinity, seriousness and playfulness, that is now so inherent in both Beckham and her brand.
"I was feeling the pressure coming back to celebrate in London," she exclusively tells Refinery29 at a presentation of her collection at Annabel's the day after the show. "It was stressful and overwhelming but I feel very proud, very happy -- I'm on cloud nine to be honest." Anticipation had been building since the news of her homecoming was announced, and everyone from her loyal fans to industry insiders have been reflecting on 10 years of Victoria Beckham: the brand, the designer and the woman.
For her, though, this season wasn't about looking at what had gone before. "I looked back over the past 10 years, but not in a retrospective way at all, and I wasn't inspired by a particular past collection." Instead, she identified the signature elements of her aesthetic that have become stronger over the years, and, ultimately, what her customers come to her for. "I recognized all of the strong codes that we had established, from the color palette to the cut, and put together a collection I believe my customer wants."
While it's obvious Beckham takes her role and platform very seriously, what people have come to recognize -- and it's been obvious all along to those who have worked with her -- is that she doesn't take herself too seriously. Take her first campaign in London, recreating the tongue-in-cheek shoot for Marc Jacobs back in 2008, the year she launched herself into the world of fashion. Shot once again by Juergen Teller, her legs are akimbo, sprawling from an oversized shopping bag. There are obvious plays on the nature of celebrity and personal brand as commodity here, but what comes through most is how fun she can be.
"I think it's always good to show personality and a sense of humor," she explains. "What better way to celebrate the 10th anniversary than by poking fun at myself and recognizing where it all began."
A decade ago, when she first announced that she'd be moving from Spice Girl and footballer's wife into the realm of fashion -- taking on the mantle of creative director, no less -- she was met with skepticism at best; derision at worst. While it's vital to hold makers to task to ensure the bar is kept high when it comes to craftsmanship and vision, the way women's magazines talked about celebrities at the time was pretty horrific. Still, Beckham bears no grudges.
"I was very aware of it at the beginning -- it wasn't just the beginning, it was for quite a few seasons, but I expected that, and I wasn't frustrated by it," she says. "I just kept my head down, worked hard, and always made it about the product and the customer, rather than about me as a celebrity. It was quite a few seasons before I came out at the end of the show, and my family didn't attend the first few seasons. I really wanted it to be about the clothes and nothing else."
Aside from the sophisticated yet modern pieces she creates, what won the industry over was Beckham's professionalism and humility. She meets clients straight after the catwalk shows, introducing herself to everyone in the room, and regularly talks press through her inspiration and motivation each season. This may not sound like much, but in an industry rife with egos, it casts Beckham in a really positive light.
Now the much-anticipated 10th anniversary show is complete (having received rave reviews), can Beckham put her feet up and enjoy the moment? Not likely.
"We're going to launch a beauty brand as well, so I'm going to be developing makeup, skincare and fragrance -- that's something that I'm very excited about."
We can expect Victoria Beckham beauty some time next year -- "I don't want to rush anything; I know, as a woman, what I want" -- and it seems like she's ready for the next challenge.
"It feels like the start of a new chapter," she says of 2018. "Having brought on investors, an incredible chairman in Paris, our new offices and return to London, and now Paolo (Riva) coming on as CEO, it just feels like the start of the next 10 years." Here's to the next decade, VB.
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