Victoria Beckham did not want her runway show on the Sunday of London Fashion Week to be seen as a homecoming. “I feel reluctant to call it a homecoming because this is not a big blockbuster event. It is not a spectacle full of specially made clothes that won’t ever go on to get made or sold, or a retrospective in any way,” Beckham said, smiling nervously. This was 24 hours before the designer commemorated the 10th anniversary of her namesake brand by unveiling her spring/summer 2019 collection here, after a decade showing in New York. She was deep in last-minute fittings for the show in a studio at her offices, scanning photo boards of models and tweaking looks, this way and that.
“I want the show itself to be quite intimate, with lots of my customers and those who have supported me along the way who havent been able to come to a show before,” Beckham said, who planned to run the register Sunday afternoon that allowed the clients to shop the show from her directly. “But it really isnt about looking back. I am always looking to the future — we have to be — so the collection is about creating clothes that women would want to buy and wear now. I want to give them choices.”
Business as usual, it would seem. And yet, as a small crowd gathered for coffee and breakfast bites at her elegant Mayfair flagship store — the walls lined with recent campaign shots by the photographer Juergen Teller featuring Beckham crawling out of a giant shopping bag — the mood was one of shared pride and celebration.
That grew when guests ambled next door to Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, housed in a recently restored Dover Street town house for the main event. And it reached a barely restrained fever pitch when Beckhams husband, David, accompanied by the couples four children, Brooklyn, Romeo, Cruz and Harper, arrived, fighting through a paparazzi scrum to seats next to the gallerys grand central sweeping staircase, as assorted parents, sisters, nieces and nephews assembled nearby.
Then came the clothes themselves; chic and versatile, contemporary but also with clear nods to many of the design codes upon which Victoria Beckham has spent a decade forging her name. From the opening look — a fluid, bold white trouser suit worn by the model Stella Tennant — to the strong-shouldered blazers, slouchy yet considered slacks and split-flared pants that came thereafter, smart tailoring that flattered took centre stage, softened by lace-trimmed camisoles, vests and blouses.
A palette of tomato reds and ochers, periwinkle blues, black and white had been inspired by the painting Blue Knickers — also 10 years old this year — by the artist Nicola Tyson, and worked well on classic “VB” sculpted silhouettes, like sleeveless shifts, tunics and polo dresses with fluid kerchief skirts.
Other kinds of femininity came later in billowing floral print dresses with high-buttoned collars or spaghetti straps, and knitted, layered midi-dresses with matching stilettos — some styled over slim-cut pants. Then to close, a handful of elegant evening wear looks, like a halter-neck gown with a trail of tiny buttons, or a white Grecian-style robe, with a blue rope belt and cape that fell behind.
The milestone show came 10 months after Beckhams company took on investment of about $40 million, roughly equivalent to one years gross revenues at the time, to ramp up expansion efforts, including new stores and new product categories. There have been growing pains, too. This year, about 60 workers were laid off, according to The Daily Mail.
As 90s power anthems like “Back to Life” by Soul II Soul and “Youve Got the Love” by Candi Staton blasted on the sound system, Beckham, looking emotional, graced the runway to take her bow, dressed in a camel blazer and a casual ponytail. She reached out to her family for a squeeze, before putting her hands over her face.
The former Spice Girl may not have committed to Britain for further shows, but at that moment, she appeared more than happy to be in her home city. London seemed happy to have her.