Victoria Beckham on Sunday showed her collection in New York for the last time, before committing to London in September for the brand's ten year anniversary.
Stripping it back to the intimate salon-style show of her first collection, Beckham chose an uptown Renaissance mansion's drawing rooms on 91st street, stating: "It’s more intimate, like my first shows were. I wanted this to be a nice thing to do on a Sunday morning. I want people to enjoy coming to my shows.”
It is hard to believe it was ten years ago that Beckham launched her label with a series of body con dresses. She has kept up with the times, hiring expert designers from labels such as Céline, and flirted with sportswear and more relaxed silhouettes, a canny move away from her glamour look post Spice Girls era.
With just 25 looks, this was indeed an 'easy' show to start off a Sunday morning, which saw utility outerwear in that hard-to-wear-fabric, boiled wool. Wide belts accentuated waists from coat jackets to leather dresses. A cross-over leopard print manteau bore metal studs on the forearm and belt. A military parka opted luxe with minimal details of a raised shoulder and drawstring sleeves. Missing from the runway was evening wear, those column sheaths made famous by the label's founder.
These are interesting times for Victoria Beckham and certainly not without its challenges. The company posted a loss of 8.4 million pounds in the year to December 2016 and revenue of 36 million pounds. The losses rose significantly from 2015, with the brand stating they reflected investment in design, marketing and sales. Company director Robert Dodds wrote that a new partnership with US retailer Target and a licensing deal with Reebok “will further enhance the profitability of the business.”
There is no doubt audiences are intrigued by Mrs Beckham. On the one hand she is a married mother of four children, successfully juggling home life and the inevitable harsh calendar of the fashion industry. On the other she is polished and glamorous in all public situations, with military execution of her public persona and never a hair out of place. Every outfit on every occasion is contrived. It is rare to see a photo of Beckham in a casually thrown on ensemble taking the dog for a walk or getting a pint of (almond) milk.
What drives Beckham, in her own words, is "to empower women." In the age of #metoo, she uses the term loosely: women don't need to purchase 1,500 pound dresses to feel empowered. What they do need is functional clothes, and with Phoebe Philo's exit from Céline, she may have well found her niche, a uniform of wearable clothes, unabashedly luxurious.
Photo credit: Victoria Beckham