NEW YORK — If there was any doubt Victoria Beckham would create a stir in America, it was dispelled by Saks Fifth Avenue.
Beckham hit Manhattan Thursday with the launch of her DVB label at the Saks flagship, followed by a dinner in her honor hosted by Saks chairman and chief executive officer Steve Sadove.
At the personal appearance, a crowd of 400 or so fans went wild for the former Spice Girl, screaming, clapping and trying to get a shot of her with their cellphones. The mayhem extended to the paparazzi, which at one point caused a near pileup by the red carpet that Saks created just for Beckham on its main floor.
Beckham, in a sequinned silver Fendi tank top, white DVB jeans and silver Christian Louboutin heels, took it all in, posing and pouting patiently for her fans.
"I caught the tail end of it," said Sadove at the Four Seasons restaurant later that night. "It was a mob scene. People were so excited. We've seen a lot of celebrities coming to Saks, but this one was at or near the top. She so well fits the personality of what we're trying to do with the store."
Beckham said she decided to kick the launch off with Saks because she was impressed with the retailer and its executive team.
"They were really nice, cool and professional," she said. "Obviously, this is a huge opportunity for me. This is a great store. They have been really supportive and wrote a big order. You can't ask for more."
Nor could her fans, who were beaming with delight at Beckham and her patience with the crowds.
"She is one of the nicest celebrities I have ever met," said Mike Lombardo, 23, a graphic designer from New York. "And her style is great."
Beckham's profile has been on the rise here in recent months. Since launching the concept for DVB, she has been busy getting the collection off the ground while arranging her move from Madrid to Los Angeles, where her husband, David, has a $250 million contract with the L.A. Galaxy soccer club. To that end, Beckham has been spending a lot of time on the West Coast."Los Angeles has not changed my style," she said. "I get influenced, but nothing could ever change my style. I love L.A., but I am very European. I dress very much like I am from London. I have lived in Madrid for four years and it hasn't influenced the way that I dress or design my collection at all."
The Beckhams are expected to move to their new Beverly Hills home next month, and she has turned to her friend, decorator Kelly Hoppen, for help with the interiors. The move will happen in time for her children (she has three: Brooklyn, Romeo and Cruz) to have their first all-American experience — summer camp. "It was good to encourage them to do it," she said. "They are going to make friends, and it won't be such a shock for them when they start school in August."
In recent weeks, film crews have followed Beckham's every move for a reality television show, expected to air on NBC next month. There's been some buzz about hiccups with the show, peaking recently when Beckham took off for England to join her husband. That caused some British tabloids to speculate she had walked out of the project — a notion Beckham downplayed. Fashion plays a key role in the show, and Beckham said she will be sporting some of her best pieces from Azzedine Alaïa, Hervé Léger, Thierry Mugler, Claude Montana and Lanvin in the show.
The NBC camera crews caught a visit to the Pleasure Chest erotica shop in Hollywood, as well as a trip to Dodgers Stadium, where she threw the opening pitch — in short-shorts and platforms. "I was really nervous about it," she admitted. "Being from Europe, we don't know too much about baseball. I was kind of freaked out about what to wear, but then Dries Van Noten made platform trainers. How major was that? I was a lot better in my practice. I got very nervous and threw it a bit off to the left, but at least it didn't hit the floor and it went into the square thing. I was kind of quite pleased with myself."
As for the trip to the sex shop, she said she wanted to buy a blow-up doll, which she dressed in her clothes, and her bodyguard then carried it around as a decoy for the paparazzi. "I wanted to go out and get David a gift, and obviously I get photographed going into the shop. The paparazzi followed the blow-up doll around, thinking I wouldn't be far behind, and I went shopping on my own the whole day."There was no decoy necessary at the dinner at the Four Seasons restaurant on Thursday, which turned out to be an intimate affair. It gave Beckham the chance to familiarize herself with Saks executives and New York fashion editors. Wearing a black Givenchy dress, Beckham moved along the table of 40 and proclaimed her love of America several times. She hasn't lost her irreverent, self-deprecating English sense of humor, though.
"I had a wonderful day today," she said just before dinner was being served. She kept her words brief for a reason. "I know all of you want to eat — including myself," she said, before adding, "I hate to ruin the rumors."
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