Can a Spice Girl pull off French-girl chic? Victoria Beckham has wowed fashion skeptics in New York and London, but she upped the ante with a hop in the style capital for her first catwalk show in almost three years.
“Paris is the ultimate dream,” Beckham said ahead of a show staged in the honey-colored stone cloisters of the Baroque church of Val de Grace. “It’s a pinch moment to be here.” Although the designer insisted she was more excited than nervous, this is a challenging time for her brand. A work-from-home zeitgeist was a bad wind for a name that trades in jet-set glamour. Prices had to come down to boost sales. And the celebrity circus surrounding the Beckham name — invaluable for bringing appeal and piquancy to a relatively small fashion label — had threatened to overshadow the show with rumors of a “feud” between Beckham and her daughter-in-law.
For her Paris debut, the designer opted for quiet glamor over catwalk fireworks. Satin dresses were cut at an angle for a flattering walk, hung on delicate spaghetti straps for drama and hemmed with silk tassels to kiss bare shoulders. Beckham believes her client wants what she wants: “A sexy dress that’s easy to wear. That’s what I like best and I won’t bother about it.” It was all tasteful and lighthearted on the front row, too, where the support of Beckham’s son and daughter-in-law Brooklyn and Nicola Peltz Beckham threw a spanner in the works.
“A year ago we weren’t able to do a show,” Beckham said. “We had to build a whole new team. To have weathered the pandemic as an independent brand and to be here, accepted by the French fashion community, feels like a big deal.” Marie Leblanc, who joined the brand as CEO in 2019, forecasts break-even for next year.
“It feels more modern not to bury myself under the wardrobe now,” Beckham said. This is the fashion week that speaks for the oldest adage: sex sells. A body-conscious aesthetic now permeates the Victoria Beckham brand, from a lower-priced VB Body line of colour-block stretch jersey dresses to lingerie styling on the Paris Fashion Week runway, where sweetheart necklines reveal flashes of nude skin or black latex.
Lara Barrio, previously at Salvatore Ferragamo, was recently named the brand’s design director, but Beckham said she’s “still in the studio all the time. I’m working on the collection step by step. I want to wear that look.” For the show, she wore a black version of a green draped, slit dress that Bella Hadid wore on the runway.
Though Beckham credits spending time in Miami “where women of all different body shapes love showing them off” with rekindling her love of statement dresses, she hasn’t seen the movement toward body diversity that has been a feature of much of fashion month assumed . Backstage, the designer defended her decision to only cast sample-size models, saying that a show “is all about creating that character for the season,” and insisting that the casting should be “done some other way.” diverse and interesting”.
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