It’s difficult for a celebrity designer to establish themselves as a worthy label, participating in the greater fashion conversation. Kanye West has tried twice; both attempts drawing ire from critics. Rihanna had an attempt with Puma at New York Fashion Week; that also saw critics voice their disinterest. Lest we forget, Lindsay Lohan once served as artistic adviser at Emanuel Ungaro—it’s difficult to hold back the laughter. Celebrity fashion designers are usually disparaged due to little or no formal training.
Victoria Beckham has come a long way as a celebrity designer. She started out in September 2008 with fifteen dresses. Almost eight years later there is still a surplus of cocktail dresses but she’s keen on a well-cut trouser too. Her design handwriting is fascinating. It generally corresponds to what Beckham herself is wearing at any given time—not trends. Of late, there’s been a relaxed mood permeating the collections. In the past few seasons she has introduced drapery, swishy trousers and print. If you take a look at the first collection you wouldn’t expect it to lead you to loose-fitting, swishy garments that take to her runway.
Loose-fitting was one side of the coin in this collection. Beckham was reflecting on her past. She started out with heavily-corseted, waist-cinching dresses that took press, buyers and the general public (she turned over £34 million last year) by storm. Those dresses that she started out with formed the basis for this collection. Opening with a deconstructed bustier dress, memories of VB of yore flooded back. Open seams added the polished yet relaxed flair that Beckham has explored recently. Pencil skirts accentuated the waist, corset dresses too. This reflection on the corset was charming; her 2016 redux evidenced her personal style’s shift and the aesthetic of her brand—although those walk hand in hand.
Beckham is the kind of designer whose success isn’t determinant by trend-led pieces. She began with the ethos, “I don’t make dresses that will date.” That appears to still be the concept in 2016. Whether you’re purchasing a black coat with fringed hems, a mustard and black harlequin print dress or high-waisted button-up trousers, you can bet that they will still exist in your wardrobe or day-to-day style in ten to fifteen years. In fashion we often celebrate the collections that have the unerring dream, the ones that are borderline unwearable—collections like this present the customer with things they undoubtedly need in their life. But Beckham doesn’t settle for the banal; a patterned skirt that goes from pencil into lampshade shape; asymmetric cocktail dresses in rich autumnal hues. There isn’t a shortage of stuff, but as long as it’s good stuff there shouldn’t be any arguments.