The mobile fluidity of Victoria Beckham’s opening look—a long collage of three shades of plissé silk, under a trench coat, with a white ostrich plume fluttering to one side—had a nonchalant air of grown up elegance as it approached along the cloistered aisle of her venue. In this, Beckham’s second runway show in Paris, it felt as if she’d hit her stride—a confident balance between creative dressmaking and wardrobe substance.
Before the show, she was talking about eccentricity and playfulness with clothes. Her invitation showed a portrait of Drew Barrymore, reprising her role as Little Edie in the Grey Gardens movie. She’s a friend, from when Beckham and her family lived in L.A. “It’s not the first time I’ve talked about Grey Gardens,” said the designer. “But I don’t want to take it literally. It’s more about being a bit more eclectic, having fun; almost like a little girl playing dress-up.”
Checking back to what she did last season, it read as an evolution of the elongated silhouettes she was establishing then, with some gutsier demi-deconstructed tailoring strengthening the line-up. That’s a good thing as far as establishing a design identity goes—the power of building trust through continuity and repetition is all too easily forgotten these days.
Anyone who associates VB with dresses and the whirl of VIP events—say, in her New York phase—might be surprised, though. There was none of the short-and sucked-in left here: instead, there was a much more relaxed and generously inclusive approach to shape, generally a modernized version of 1930s-ish silhouettes. So too with the tailoring—Beckham’s interpretation of the wide-shouldered jacket, optionally worn as a dress, looked spot on for the season.
For actual evening or red carpet dressing, Beckham was up to some fun. She didn’t mention the word ‘Surrealist’ but that’s how a couple of her dresses—one leg out in a whole different way from a cliched thigh slit—happened to read. (Not to mention the trimmings of acrylic hair extensions, inspired, she said, by work of artist Solange Pessoa.) Building on the success of her excellent VB Beauty range, the future of Victoria Beckham the brand looks assured.
BY SARAH MOWER
March 3, 2023