Victoria Beckham celebrated ten years in fashion, quietly, discreetly, saving the real celebration, she said, until next autumn, when her collection will move from New York to her native London.
Fashion – and the designer – have come a long way since VB's sexy Spice Girl years in the 1990s. Showing her Autumn/Winter 2018 collection way uptown on New York's Upper East Side, the show area was smaller than usual, the better to see the details of cut and cloth. The only sign of madness was a giant purple bag, which the designer, with a touch of irony, said was just the thing any mother of four kids needed.
She interspersed her conversation with tales of how pleased she was to have a chance to see her son Brooklyn, now based in the United States; and at her shared excitement with her husband David over his new appointment heading up a Major League Soccer team in Miami.
But Victoria's strength is that she is not the dilettante wife of a famous footballer, making fashionable pieces for her friends. She has built up a serious business over the last decade.
'What I've always been about is creating clothes… I am a woman designer making clothes for women – that's how I started and that's what I still feel now,' VB said. 'There has never been anything in my collection that I either wouldn't wear myself or that I don't dream about wearing. It's important that you can wear these clothes – they're not just showpieces. I really think everything should be wearable.'
Such language is music to the ears of women already panicked that Phoebe Philo, the saviour of every working woman's wardrobe, has decided to leave the Parisian house of Céline – and that her place will be taken by the brilliant, but mercurial, Hedi Slimane.
Can VB really be the designer of choice to fill the wardrobes of her peers?
'There is a real depth to this collection, which has allowed us to play more with the styling, creating lots of layers with two coats on top of each other,' VB explained. 'There is a dress on top of a skirt because the collection is big enough to be able to do that. I love the print, the first we started working on, which is my take on fake fur. It's funny, we had it all in the studio – we'd never done it before – and suddenly all the girls were gravitating towards the leopard print. I think women just can't help it.'
There were, indeed, a lot of good things in the collection – such as well-cut coats in green-grey colours, oversize sweaters in rich shades, and streamlined tailoring. Yet the show lacked urgency. There was not so much to 'really really' like, except, perhaps, low-cut shoes with sculpted straps or inserts of fans of pleats.
The second of the ten-year celebration shows may be more dramatic. But those are still under discussion.
'I don't know whether it's going to be a show or a presentation, but we are going to present our September collection in London for our anniversary,' VB said. 'Quite what that is at the moment, we're not sure. It's up in the air; we're throwing lots of ideas around. But I just feel that with this collection, and you'll understand when you see the pieces up close, I want people to really appreciate the clothes and feel close to them. I want it to be a really enjoyable experience, so people can come to a beautiful location and see really beautiful clothes.'