Victoria Beckham is looking lightly tanned and rested when we speak over Zoom. She’s just returned from a lengthy trip to Miami, where she did a few low-key things like watch her eldest son, Brooklyn, marry the actress Nicola Peltz in a lavish £15 million ceremony covered exclusively by Vogue. She professes her delight at being back in Britain again. “To come home and see the blossoms on a perfect spring day was really gorgeous,” she smiles. “What a beautiful day it was on Saturday. I’m a spring baby, and spring is always my favourite time of year.”
When regular people talk about the weather, it’s generally because they have nothing else to talk about. When celebrities talk about the weather, the time-honoured topic of meteorology takes on a different meaning. As small talk, it’s safe ground. You can’t be misquoted on the weather. Each time I interview Victoria, she comes over as incrementally more wary about what she says. In her Spice Girls days, she was outspoken and hilarious. She’s still hilarious, only these days, the cheeky humour which makes her such good company is subsumed by what one imagines is the imperative to present herself as a serious fashion designer.
Victoria turned 48 recently. Perhaps it’s significant that, days after her birthday, she’s launching VB Body, a seven-piece collection of dresses, bralettes and leggings whose tight, figure-hugging aesthetic harks straight back to her Spice Girls days.
“I’m taking things back to my roots,” she says, her own a glossy Posh Spice brown. “These are very much the dresses that I used to wear when I first started this brand. And they are very much the dresses that I’m wearing now. They’re very honest to who I am, who my customer is, and what I think that women want. Post Covid, people want to go out. They want to dress up. I mean, we all spent too much time not dressing up.”
The collection was inspired by the time she and her family spent in Miami over the second lockdown. “I loved the way that people dress there. It’s quite liberating – a less is more take. It reminded me of where I started out with my own signature dresses: lots of fitted, sexy shapes. I started to desire more liberation and less of the pussybow blouses I’d been wearing. You know, I kind of bury myself under lots of fashion. I don’t think that anybody has seen my body for quite a long time.”
They have now. Her Miami trip saw her embrace the bodycon trend with an enthusiasm of which Posh Spice would approve, tripping off yachts in little black dresses with spaghetti straps. Does she think women eventually gravitate back to the styles of their youth? “I wouldn’t necessarily say that. It’s more that the Nineties are having a comeback. Fashion goes in cycles. It really made me laugh when I saw headlines about me returning to my original Spice Girls style. For me, it was no more than the fact that it was hot. What do you put on top of a bikini when it’s that hot? I’ve got some beautiful vintage Yves Saint Laurent throws that I normally wear, but when it’s really hot, you just want something really small and really simple. It really goes no deeper than that. I certainly wouldn’t be wearing that dress with a pair of high heels going to a nightclub now.”
Presumably for the same weather-specific reasons, rather than the traditional tea dress and cardie combination favoured in British climes, slip dresses were a popular choice at the Peltz-Beckham wedding, with Victoria herself wearing a long silver satin slip dress from her own atelier, in a bespoke fabric developed by her Italian mills. “It was beautiful in the flesh. It looked like liquid, and was super-light. I’ve never worked on anything like that before. I felt so comfortable.”
VB Body is all very well if you have VB’s body, but what of we older, plumper mortals; those who haven’t, as Victoria recently did, spent time at a £9,000-a week Italian detox retreat indulging in phyto-mud sessions and drinking “magic water”?
“It’s not about age,” she says firmly. “I don’t think any of this is about age. There are certain insecurities that we have at our age that are shared by women 20 years younger than us. I mean, how many people do love their armpit area? It’s not about age at all. It’s not about body size. As women, there are certain things that we like and certain things that we don’t like, and it’s about taking these things into consideration.”
Which is what she says she’s tried to do with VB Body, opting to make every legging, dress and top in an ultra-supportive knitted fabric that “really does cinch you in at all the right places, and give you a nice round bottom or a defined waist”. Sizes range from UK 4 to UK 18. She’s also tried to be inclusive, “not just about body shape, but by making sure there are tones that work for lots of different skin types as well. There’s a really flattering chocolate brown.” She says that price inclusivity was also important. “I want to see women in these pieces, so keeping the price affordable while still delivering luxury quality was key.” Prices range from £90 to £490.
For sure, a skin-tight, one-shouldered dress – her hero piece from the collection – is a tough sell for any woman past the age of puberty, but with lockdown over, women of all ages seem inclined to bare their flesh again – particularly their arms, as recent photos of Lauren Hutton, 78, will attest. With this in mind, Victoria says she took particular care with the arm details. “With the one-shouldered dress, we made sure that it’s cut just right. As a woman, there are parts of the arm that you want to show, and parts that you don’t necessarily want to show. These tiny little details were really taken into consideration.”
Women can be self-deprecating about their bodies, and are always their own worst critics. As the mother of a 10-year-old daughter, how important does she feel it is not to project her own body insecurities onto Harper? “We don’t ever really talk about body image. She looks great, so it’s not really a conversation. Do people talk about that as much? It seems much more acceptable nowadays to celebrate being curvy. For me, it’s about being fit and healthy. That’s the most important thing. We do fitness together, as a family. She sees both me and David working out, and also her brothers. We try to eat healthily, but we also like to have treats. We’re not obsessive. It’s not about changing the way we look. It’s about celebrating the way we look.”
The Daily Telegraph