By Liz Jones
London - Late on Saturday, Victoria Beckham tweeted that she was working until dawn to get Sunday morning’s collection ready. I’m not surprised she went without sleep. Her new collection, unveiled that freezing Sunday morning in New York, had a lot to live up to.
Her last collection, for spring/summer 2013, had been her best to date: perfectly constructed cocktail dresses in wool and silk, nudes and black, with integral corsetry and sheer panels. Gorgeous buttery boots that also were part flip-flop. Great use of colour, such as vivid orange in a maxi skirt and a jacket.
Who on earth could top that? A collection that even I named the absolute best of the season, and which was a hit in every sense of the word.
Even though her spring/summer clothes have only just started to trickle into stores (Harrods, Selfridges ) and on to sites such as Net-a-Porter and mytheresa.com, the key pieces have already sold out.
But was that collection a fluke, a one off? Could she do it again?
Well, I hate to say this — having been one of her fiercest critics — but she has trumped herself, and then some. Oh, the chocolate brown, the burnt sienna, the purple the exact colour of Scottish heather just seem so delicious, so right, so new. The dominant length, too — an assured mid-calf midi — makes any other skirt seem suddenly wrong, and gauche.
She has moved away, too — and we never thought she would — from the super-tight, body-conscious dress. You know, the sort of gown that shows your kidneys, made famous by Roland Mouret and beloved of Hollywood starlets on the red carpet. Instead, she has offered up cocktail frocks that are wrapped and draped in a way that is grown-up and subtle.
My only criticism of the draping, asymmetry and slightly “felty” fabric in the dresses on show on Sunday morning is that they will make anyone over a size ten feel a bit bulky — and anyone over the age of 40 a tad frumpy. But then, VB is not designing for women who are anything other than those fashioned in her own image.
And for a woman who for her first few seasons shied away from tailoring, her trousers, which skim the ankle (all the better to show off the many pointy Mary Janes and pixie boots on offer), and jackets, with their slouchy shoulders and low lapels, are really well executed. It’s easy to forget she has only been designing clothes since 2008.
The reason these midi skirts, wrap dresses and pointy hems work is that — given they all have splits, key holes and slashes to the waist — they are still unabashedly sexy. Which is, after all, exactly what women want.
There is more than enough in this collection for the high-flying female executive to salivate over, but I’d have liked more overcoats (her olive military coats last winter were fabulously warm), and I’m not keen on the pony skin bomber jacket.
But these are minor quibbles, mere pin pricks in the side of a brand that is poised to break into the big time with the imminent launch of her own website, victoriabeckham.com. The site will sell her clothes, giant totes — there were loads of these monsters on show on Sunday; I pitied the poor models who had to hug them, given the lack of muscle definition in their arms — shoes, denim, sunglasses et al direct.
Her fashion brand is co-owned by husband David (present in the front row at the show, alongside Anna Wintour) and Simon Fuller, the music impresario.
I imagine all three now have dollar signs instead of irises, given the fact that other key luxury brands, such as Dior, Prada and Stella McCartney, lag behind so much when it comes to online sales, with their antiquated websites.
My favourite piece in the entire collection is a tuxedo jacket with severe shoulders, worn like a cape, with the arms slashed open, as if the wearer has just had a run-in with Freddy Krueger.
The simple evening shifts with contrasting bodices — all bound to hover at the £2,000 (about R24 000) mark; her prices seem to escalate every season — even make her spring/summer corset dresses seem slightly old hat.
Should we care about a collection that very few of us can afford? Well, come August we can expect the High Street to be awash with copycat kitten heels, sloppy pixie boots, apron dresses and monkish brown tunics cinched with Sam Brown belts.
Victoria Beckham has been the most Googled and tweeted about designer throughout New York Fashion Week. That she has been able, in such a few short years, to trump Calvin Klein for minimal elegance, Michael Kors for luxury, Oscar de la Renta for top-notch fabrics and even Miuccia Prada for new ideas is nothing short of remarkable.
She has even thrown down a gauntlet (maybe her website will sell gloves, too?) to Burberry, who will show in London next week — her plaid coat, dipped in shiny royal-blue skirting, makes Christopher Bailey’s over-embellished trench coats and biker jackets seem gaudy. My only wish is that VB will think about showing in London next season.
Who’d have thought: a former girl-band member with bad skin, the toast of the snooty fashion world. I’m still choking on the feathers from the Philip Treacy hat I’ve been munching on since last September.
All in all, VB equals VG. You can’t say fairer than that. - Daily Mail