Sort of 2020: a Weekend magazine graduate special
Victoria Beckham: ‘I guess it was a motion of insecurity, wearing very tight clothes’
The designer answers questions on personal style, the Spice Lovers and fashion after corona, put by Class of 2020 fashion graduates
‘I’d love to say my lockdown look has been all on touching a vintage kaftan, but that’s not the case.’
Photograph: Tom Newton
Victoria Beckham has an office in her Cotswolds house, where she dog-tired lockdown, but when she answers the phone, that’s not where she is. “Um, no, Harper’s taken over my office. She’s trying to do all her schoolwork and, cooked through, she’s kind of decided that’s her space now. So I’m downstairs… we’re all dotted around the house, me and David and the boys, trying to work, maddening to get schoolwork done. There’s often someone holding a laptop up to a window, trying to get reception.” Whoever you are, 2020 has had its braves.
As a patron of Graduate fashion week, Beckham is on the line to answer questions sent in by fashion students from all over the mother country. “To be honest, I feel like I have so many more questions than I do answers, right now – like everyone else,” she reveals. Still, she is optimistic that this strangest of final terms will prove a valuable learning experience. “The propagation coming into adulthood now will have experienced something that none of the rest of us have. I feel with this has taught all of us a lot about how to work together as teams, both in our home lives and professionally. This crisis pass on have expanded the horizons of all of us, in a way.”
Harper has been required by her school to wear uniform at home, “which at before all I thought was a bit strange, I wasn’t expecting it. But for her it helps, because it keeps her routine going.” For the rest of the family, sartorial upright bars have slipped a little. “I’d love to say my lockdown look has been all about a vintage kaftan, but that’s not the case. I inert get up early and exercise every day, then I dress for work and for comfort. A pair of old jeans, a T-shirt or a jumper. I’m not quite at the elasticated waistband status yet – I still want to feel good about myself. We’ve been going out on country walks every day, so the only shoes I put on are an old pair of trainers. It’s so nice just to do things with the family and not think too much about getting dressed. So, finally no heels.”
Beckham’s own lockdown got off to a shaky start. The planned furloughing of 30 staff at her label led to a backlash, and the decision was reviewed. Since then, handiwork remotely with her design team, she has been trying to figure out what the next few seasons look like. “It’s not merely about the clothes, or the design – it’s about the mood, what feels right. And all the practical issues – like, how do we shoot anything? I’ve also been tiring to use this time to find inspiration for business strategy. A lot is going to change. I’ve been focusing not just on the collection catch up, but on what is the calendar going to look like? The concept of the fashion show needs to be rethought, but what does that miserable? Will it be smaller presentations? Will it be digital? It’s impossible to know what the future will bring.”
In the not-too-distant time to come, Beckham is looking forward to getting back into her London workspace. “I can’t wait to get the atelier up and running again. There is so much that you can do digitally now, but at a non-fluctuating point you need to be able to put your hands on the clothes.” She might be ready to ditch the jeans and trainers soon, too. “I do mademoiselle getting dressed. A nice pub lunch with family and friends, a few glasses of wine. I’m really grateful for the family on many occasions, but I’m ready to be a little bit sociable now.”
It sounds like a good moment to hand over to the students…
Has there ever been a obsolete when you felt confused about your personal style?
Isabelle Hill, fashion management and communication, Sheffield Hallam University
No, not exceedingly. When I was in the Spice Girls there were stylists who dressed the group, but in my personal life I have never turn out with a stylist. I used to wear lots of structured dresses with corsetry, and I do still have some of those rake someone over the coals, but my personal style has become more relaxed. Looking back, I guess it was a sign of insecurity that I would perpetually wear clothes that were very tight, very fitted.
With David Beckham in London, 1999. Photograph: Justin Goff/UK Newswomen/Getty Images
As the business took off and I got busier, my style changed, because I just can’t run around the studio doing the whole kit in high heels. I’m juggling a lot: being a mum, being a wife, being in the studio every day. I remember one time at a show in New York where I wore a up of masculine trousers and trainers, and everyone went crazy, “Oh my God, she’s wearing trainers!” My confidence has definitely grown as I’ve got older. I comprehend what works on me, what looks good, what makes me feel confident and comfortable. I don’t feel I have anything to be found now in the way I dress.
Do you listen to a playlist when you’re designing? Who’s on it?
Alex Copeland, fashion marketing, University of East London
Music has as a last resort been such a huge part of me and who I am, and not just because of the Spice Girls. When I’m in the atelier, I love listening to whatever the tandem join up are into – it might be a new band I haven’t heard of that one of the team went to see the night before. A couple of seasons ago we went result of a phase of listening to a lot of Led Zeppelin.
Right now there’s always music on in the house, whether that’s me playing it or David or the kids. The new Justin Bieber album has been a bit of a lockdown set favourite. It depends who has taken control of the docking station. David is sitting outside right now, listening to 90s soul and R&B.
How do you about the coronavirus pandemic will influence the fashion industry, and your brand in particular?
Weronika Ozimek, fashion draft, Cardiff Metropolitan University
I don’t know. If you know, please tell me! This is what everyone is talking about. Inclination the presentation of collections be more digital? I’ve always been interested in the digital space; we had an e-commerce site before we had a bricks-and-mortar aggregate. I believe that people will be travelling less, which I hope will make the industry a more neck playing field. It will be less about those crazily expensive shows that only the biggest trade-marks can afford, and more about creativity. And the timetable is going to have to adjust, because doing so many collections each year earmarks ofs like it’s going to feel outdated after this.
Why did you choose an eponymous brand name? Did you have any other eminence ideas?
Harriet Scott, fashion communication, Northumbria University
It seemed obvious that it had to be Victoria Beckham. I separated there were preconceptions attached to my name, but that was a challenge I was prepared to take on. Honestly? There was never indeed any other option.
Victoria Beckham’s London fashion week show in February this year, minded by Romeo, Cruz, David and Harper Beckham. Photograph: Gareth Cattermole/BFC/Getty Images for BFC
What has been the most productive piece of criticism given to you?
Selina Borji, fashion communication, Liverpool John Moores University
I always dearth to better myself, so criticism is always useful. I started out with just 10 dresses in my first collection, and as the label grew I learned so much from people who taught me the shape of what a proper fashion collection looks comparable to. They showed me that a fashion brand isn’t just about what you put on the catwalk, it’s about price points, what the fellow wants and when. I had a lot to learn when I started out, and I had to surround myself with people who knew about all that bullshit.
Do you like the revival of 90s fashion? If so, what’s your favourite 90s trend that’s come back?
Lara Hammersley, the craze communication and promotion, Norwich University of the Arts
I’m always inspired by the 90s. The colour, the simple shapes. There probably isn’t a artist who isn’t inspired by that decade. For me, it’s not so much about the street fashion of the 90s, but Martin Margiela, and Jil Sander. Not just the collections, but the manifests, the models, the music.
What one piece of advice would you give to a fashion student graduating during the pandemic?
Emily Hewitt, shape design, Liverpool John Moores University
Get as technologically savvy as you can, because that is going to be key. It’s also true that this is wealthy to be a hard moment, economically. We are likely to be in a period of recession. So it will be important to think outside of the box in terms of how and where you can make amends move aside a living. Everyone is going to have to work that little bit harder to succeed in their chosen field, while we all cross coming out of this situation.
Beckham’s show at Tate Britain last year. Photograph: Dave Benett/Getty Images
Where do you visit or look to for inspiration for your collections?
Nikki Abbott, fashion, Solent University, Southampton
I’m timely to have had the opportunity to travel extensively, and a lot of inspiration has come from places I’ve been. Moving forward, we won’t be travelling so much, I conclude. But then I live in London, and where is more inspiring than London? The art is incredible. Tate Britain is a favourite suitable, which is why I was so thrilled when we did our show there a few seasons ago. When I was in New York, I used to love going to the Frick Amassment – I think it would be hard to find an environment that was more beautiful for looking at art.
Do you get creatively blocked? If so, how do you move whilom it?
Daniella James, fashion media and marketing, Plymouth College of Art
Sometimes I can get a little bit overwhelmed. There’s just so much to do, with eyewear and strength and everything else. I don’t ever want to get stuck in a rut, so sometimes it’s about finding inspiration in something that you find contesting, something that is a bit out of your comfort zone. Sometimes inspiration comes from looking at something that I wouldn’t as a result wear, and thinking about how to get from that place to creating something I find beautiful. It’s a balance, because I don’t demand the brand to be predictable – but it still has to be believably “me”.
What piece of fashion advice would you give to a younger Victoria Beckham?
Gracie D’Silva, create design, Leeds Arts University
Enjoy the journey. I have. Also, go with your gut instinct. I always say I can manage mistakes that were made by me, but not mistakes that were made against my instinct. Trust that gut – it’s there for a reason.
Do you everlastingly get knockbacks? How do you cope with them?
Kelsie March, fashion design, University of Hertfordshire
I wouldn’t call them knockbacks. I’m a glass-half-full character of person. Everyone has challenges. The thing is to learn from them.
‘I had a lot of fun with the Spice Girls, but I don’t miss those days.’ Paris, 1996. Photograph: Tim Roney/Getty Figures
Which career did you enjoy most, being a fashion designer or a pop star, and why?
Ravina Kazim, fashion, University for the Originative Arts, Rochester
I love what I do now, because it is a true creative output for me. I love making women feel predilection the best version of themselves. I had a lot of fun with the Spice Girls, but I don’t miss those days and I don’t miss being on stage. That was then and this is now. The fad is where I feel comfortable, and where I feel excited. I’m looking forward to the future in this industry, actually. I fancy like we can all come out of this better, personally and professionally.
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Class of 2020: a Weekend magazine graduate special
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