Victoria Beckham: Stella Tennant opens show and new era for the designer
Victoria Beckham staged both an anniversary and a debut Sunday morning, with a smoothly elegant show and collection inside a Mayfair art gallery, her first show since a major overhaul of her company by experienced outside investors.
The new era was apparent from the first model as iconic British model Stella Tennant opened the show in a crisply cut mannish white trouser suit, finished with belted cummerbund and silk blouse, and anchored by silver shoes. It captured the whole masculine and feminine dichotomy that has rippled through Beckham’s oeuvre ever since her first show in New York. Today’s double-show, which took place under tight security, represented Beckham’s runway debut in London. Tonight she will celebrate her decade in the business with a fête with UK Vogue.
Rarely has a casting made so much difference to a show. Beckham often used obscure models in her NYC shows both in the early days in an Upper East Side townhouse, or latterly in a former ocean liner headquarters near Wall Street.
Whereas this show climaxed with veteran stars like Liya Kebede in a black calico coat; who followed moody Canadian beauty Tasha Tilberg in a drop dead gorgeous halter neck floor-sweeping, and back-revealing, silk dress; or Edie Campbell in mannish pants topped with an intricate oversized belt and negligee top.
The show was perfectly staged inside the all-white Thaddaeus Ropac gallery, located right next door to Beckham’s Mayfair flagship, with guests perched on unvarnished Louis XVI chairs. Guests for the second show were invited for tea in Beckham’s boutique. Climaxing, somewhat ironically for a return home to the UK, with the famous American house anthem Your Love by Bronx-born DJ Frankie Knuckles.
“The girls really made this collection their own. This season it’s about celebrating women, and when I look back over the past 10 years I realized that I have established codes, even if my color palette this season was inspired by a contemporary artist I love, Nicola Tyson,” explained Beckham, who has just moved into a new more professional London studio.
Under new CEO Paolo Riva – a veteran of Diane Von Furstenberg and Tory Burch, who greeted guests wearing a patchwork Marni shirt – Beckham has just opened a new website, shipping to customers in over 100 countries.
“I am so excited to come back to London and celebrate my house with my family, many of whom have never actually seen any of my shows,” she said, adding that many key customers had flown in especially for the show from Australia to Mexico.
Above all, since her early days when she was essentially a gifted cocktail dress maker, Victoria has matured into a properly broad-ranging designer with a distinct style. Her selection of semi-athletic mesh dresses worn over long pants; precision cut track pants or asymmetrical micro-fiber frocks were all highly flattering and truly contemporary.
“We are very happy with how things are moving at Victoria Beckham. We’ve put in a proper CEO and newer structures and believe the future will be very bright at the house,” explained David Belhassen, whose private equity firm Neo Investment Partners acquired 28% of the fashion house, and took management control, when it injected in £30 million in November 2017.
Last year, Beckham posted losses of £4.3 million on sales of £36 million, leading to a radical restructuring of her company, amid reports of redundancies for almost one third of her 180-strong staff.
However, after this show expect a rosier bottom line chez Beckham. Led by her cast, it felt like Beckham’s house suddenly looked a lot more mature and pertinent this morning in London.
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