Victoria Beckham was fresh off the plane, in between wifehood, motherhood, her fashion line and the World Cup 2006. I had to catch her in a now-or-never moment, desperate for a whiff of some kind of genuine Victoria-ness no paparazzi ambush could ever capture.
Fifteen minutes was all I had, on cellular phone technology, she in Spain, I am in Hong Kong.
As you wait for this very important phone call, it sort of dawns on you, the weight of it all, the preciousness of time against the unfathomable burden of celebrity – to imagine all the things that might have made this opportunity possible, as you are stuck on the ground with a deadline to beat, and she is jetting through the air at V speeds, and there is that distance, there is that gap, there really is one reality here and another there, and you wonder about true Victoria-ness.
Victoria Beckham is one of the most famous women in the world. Victoria Beckham is a fashion icon. Victoria Beckham is Mrs David Beckham. Victoria Beckham was a Spice Girl. You have to push all these Victorias back, way back, to the rear of your head, because they are most likely not Victoria-ness, and she herself would tell you that. For sure.
Because 15 minutes is all you have.
Phone rings, it’s her. The conversation is still at V speeds, a professional Q&A, she replies deftly, and in the whole process, you realise that what you hear is what you get: she loves her family but she wants to do her own thing; she likes fashion but she follows her own style; she feels very European and she loves to travel and experience different cultures; she wants to have a creative life; she wants her dreams to come true.
Victoria-ness? She is a woman who wants the best for herself, a woman who is making the best of what she¡¦s got. And this is the real Victoria. And this is why women can relate. And this is why Victoria-ness is at the heart of all the Victoria Beckhams the world has come to know.
And 15 minutes is all you need, to understand that it is this Victoria-ness of not just Victoria, but all modern women, that is the true worldwide phenomenon.
Last we heard, you were promoting VB Rocks jeans in Asia, and we¡¦re planning to put up a children’s line as well. Then, there was the David Beckham aftershave Instinct. What’s new since then?
All the jeans with Rock & Republic are going really really well! We have included a children’s denim selection for the summer and men’s jeans will follow in the autumn.
David and I have been working on a joint perfume and aftershave that will be in Asia this autumn. I also have a sunglasses line out at the same time, as well as a fashion book – so I’ve been quite busy. I do get excited with all of these projects. They’ve been things I’ve been looking forward to working on for ages.
You and your husband are quite well-loved in Japan. What are your personal feelings about Japan? When was the first time you visited?
I love Japan and the street culture in Tokyo. They really appreciate fashion and take it to the extremes. There are so many trends and styles worn by the girls and boys in central Tokyo districts. I first visited with the Spice Girls… The tours were always good fun and the fans so enthusiastic. Asian girls are so cool and stylish. I get lots of inspiration when I visit.
Can you share with us your first experience of exotic?
It was a bottle of Chanel perfume, a gift from a friend. It was also my mum’s perfume, and I was thrilled to have it. It was the first designer thing I ever had in my possession, and though I was very young it made me feel so sophisticated and mature.
You are very open about your love for fashion, but you’ve also said you don¡¦t consider yourself fashionable.
Right. I don’t like to follow trends; I wear what suits me and my shape. I like one-off stuff. I don’t think I’ve ever followed a trend in my life – in fact, once I spot a trend I get the tendency to go the other way. I like to make things my own. I¡¦m quite classic in a sense – I love Audrey Hepburn’s look. Even when I was a Spice Girl I didn’t consider what I wore to be costumes, and I didn’t see myself as somebody who was “styled”.
Most exotic food you’ve ever eaten.
A delicious dish of fish, shellfish, tropical fruits and vegetables that I ate in Brazil one time.
What’s most exotic about England?
It certainly can feel exotic in the summer when you have a barb-q outside with the children running in vests and flip-flops. I would describe London’s mix of people as exotic.
What’s most exotic about Spain?
There’s so much! The food, the weather, the plants, birds, animals. Nighttime in the summer is really special, we love to cook and eat outdoors and have lots of parties. We have an open house.
Most exotic fashion garment in your closet.
I collect vintage Alaia and have some vintage Versace and Gucci sunglasses, which are both very Glam Copacabana.
IF VICTORIA BECKHAM WERE AN HAUTE COUTURIER…
Which city would she choose to be based in?
Milan or maybe Paris – I’m torn!
What would be the inspiration for her FIRST collection, one for spring and summer, one for fall and winter?
Classic curves, soft lines, cool prints and great fabrics, would be what I would strive for year round and a strong overall image -sexy and slim.
Who would wear her clothes?
I’d be really flattered if my clothes were worn by a mixture of ordinary everyday people to fashionista’s who were pleasantly surprised. Kate Moss would be my ideal.
Which current designers would her style be more similar to?
If I did develop a clothesline, I’d want to work hard to develop my own style, but I really admire names like Vivienne Westwood, McQueen, Balacienga, Alaia and Roland Mouret.
What would the runway show be like?
If I were to do a show, it would be something different and fun, mixed with music and art.
IF VICTORIA BECKHAM WERE A FASHION EDITOR…
What would be her top 3 concepts for a fashion shoot? Any favourite models and photographers?
For models I love Kate Moss and Gemma Ward. Photographers would be Steve Meisel, Jean Baptiste Mondino and Mert & Marcus. I love locations for shoot – the desert or mountains.
Who’d be the first person she’d put on the cover?
Kate Moss – I love her image.
IF VICTORIA BECKHAM WERE A PERSONAL SHOPPER…
Who would be her ideal customer(s)?
Someone who was not afraid to try something different. Also someone who loves the classic shapes too, but wants a fresh, modern update for their wardrobe.
What kinds of outfits would she like to put together?
Everything from great pieces for day and statements for evening. I love accessories too – this is the easiest way for me to update. I like to make an outfit personal.
Which would be her dream store?
Collette in Paris, Corso Como in Milan or Joyce in Hong Kong.
Text: Paula Nocon
Photography: Mika Ninagawa @ Lucky StarStyling: Yoshi Miyamasu @ SignoMake-up: Rie Sekine @ FemmeCo-ordination: Glory