David and Victoria Beckham: The Pride of Britian

David y Victoria: El orgullo inglés.


VICTORIA BECKHAM has been busy showcasing her latest fashion collection at New York Fashion Week. Twenty-two figure-hugging dresses sashayed down the catwalk wrapped round the bodies of some super-svelte models but what of the former Spice Girl herself?

Those lucky enough to get a ticket for her eighth show (“the strongest yet,” shrieked the headlines) would have had a blink-and-you’ll-miss-her glimpse of the former singer. Rather than strutting down the runway to applause she popped her head out, gave a coy little wave and then dis­appeared. Really, though, she deserves to take a long and lingering bow.
Has ever a celebrity performed such a convincing storming of the fashion citadel as Victoria Beckham? A few years ago she was best known (certainly in the US) as David Beckham’s other half and when she revealed her intentions to become a designer there was much scoffing among the fashion elite who presumably thought the washed-up pop star wanted a distraction. They don’t scoff now, however, because she has pulled off a specta­cular coup and is challenging her footballer husband in the talent stakes. Today both the Beckhams are regarded as the pride of Britain.
The fashion pack cottoned on to her talents as soon as her designs premiered in 2008, with her debut collection receiving a rapturous reception. Their claws were sharply retracted while waspish Vogue editor Anna Wintour declared: “Don’t underestimate her.” Still, it seems that Victoria’s husband might have done.

This week David came to her show for the first time and Victoria was overheard backstage confiding: “I don’t think that he even realised that I have a proper job until today.”

Should any statistics be needed to dispel the myth that designing is a hobby for her, last year her clothing range generated sales of more than £15million in three months and she walked away with the British Fashion Award for best designer brand. “I always dreamed this would happen one day,” she told the throng.
T his week the positive write-ups have been coming thick and fast. (“Victoria Beckham brings sexy back to the New York catwalk”; “She goes from strength to strength”; “She has the fashion industry at her feet.”) All that and it has just been announced that she has become an international ambass­ador for David Cameron’s “GREAT Britain Campaign” which helps to promote our nation.

“Victoria Beckham’s reputation is sky high and she’s really highly regarded,” says Carrie Tyler, editor of ELLEuk.com. “She’s consistently shown catwalk collections that have gone down a storm and retailers have fought hand over fist to stock her collection. This week both her main line collection VB and her diffusion line Victoria by Victoria Beckham were both incredibly well-received.

“And of course so many celebrities are now wearing her clothes. In the past week alone we’ve had Julianne Moore, Michelle Williams, twice, and Celine Buckens, the British War Horse actress, as well as Melissa George at the Baftas and Adele at the Grammys.

“She has dressed everyone from Cheryl Cole to Nicole Scherzinger and that includes quite a diverse range of celebrities. All different types of stars like to wear her clothes.

“Her dresses really do give you a great figure. They’re nipped in at the waist and give you a sexy wiggle. They epitomise Victoria Beckham’s own style really. I can see each of these pieces on her and she promotes them all the time.”
The question that often pops up is just how involved is the mother-of- four in the nitty gritty of her creations. There is lingering scepticism that a woman with no design background is the label’s true designer. This was the subject of an in-depth New York Times piece just over a year ago entitled Victoria Beckham: Is She For Real? Encouragingly, it came to the conclusion that yes, she is.

She may not have spent years studying at fashion school but ­Victoria is certainly hands on and she admits that she has learnt her skills as she has gone along. “I might get a piece of fabric and tie it around me then ask an assistant to pin it for me,” she has said. “I’m not claiming to be a master draper.”

What she does claim to be is a hard-worker and a “control freak” with an instinctive eye for flair.
“I pay attention to details,” she says. “When I’m here it’s full on. We have so much to get through. Nothing comes out of that studio that I have not designed and approved at every stage. I can’t let go.”

“As far as I’m concerned,” says Tyler, “she does it all. When she presents her secondary line her shows are very informal and relaxed. It’s a like a one-to-one between Victoria and the ­fashion journalists and Victoria talks through each piece in the collection. The detail she goes into, including the fabric used, the way it’s cut and designed and her inspiration, shows that she’s all over it. She has an all-consuming love affair with her label. If she hadn’t taken it seriously it would have been completely discounted by the press. She’s a lesson in how a celebrity line should run.”

Getting all her showbiz pals, such as Eva Longoria, Elle Macpherson and Katherine Jenkins to model her designs was an invaluable marketing tool but now it’s not just the celebs who are clamouring for her clothes. Victoria’s more affordable line, where each dress retails at around £350, is in huge demand. “Harvey Nichols who are the exclusive ­stockists in the UK can’t get enough of them,” says Tyler. “They are ­flying off the shelves.”

Victoria is understandably revelling in her status as a design queen. Asked earlier this month which she preferred, pop music or fashion, she replied: “Definitely fashion. Isn’t that obvious? I enjoy what I’m doing now so much more. Being in the Spice Girls was fantastic but I was never going to be the best singer.”

She has already got one best designer award under her skinny belt and after this week’s triumphant launch it seems as if more could well be on their way. Anna Wintour was right. Underestimate Mrs Beckham at your peril.

express.co.uk & zigazig-ha.com

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