LONDON — It’s a moment of metamorphosis for Victoria Beckham and she’s marking it by staging her first runway show in Paris, at the 17th-century church and monastery of Val-de-Grâce in the 5th arrondissement, where her old friend Kim Jones set the Dior men’s spring 2023 show earlier this year.
The changes have been coming at full speed. Earlier this year Beckham hired a new design director, Lara Barrio, and launched accessories and body lines.
Last summer, along with the company’s chief executive officer Marie Leblanc, she rejigged her commercial strategy, combining the Victoria Victoria Beckham and main line collections and slashing the average price point of the collection.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to show in Paris,” said Beckham during a preview of her spring 2023 collection here. “And it’s the right time. It’s a strong brand moment, and I’m very, very excited.”
The Paris show venue is spectacular. For the show in June, Dior created a real lawn, with thousands of plants, inside the venue and added smaller-scale reproductions of Christian Dior’s childhood home in Granville, France, and Charleston, the countryside property in England that is synonymous with the Bloomsbury Group.
Although Beckham didn’t go into detail about her set, it’s bound to be special. “It feels like a real moment where we’re going to be giving our existing customer what she wants. But I think we’re reaching out to a younger audience as well,” she said.
She’s upping those hemlines and going short again, with lots of ruffled minis and knits with skirts covered in long bright tassels, the latter of which also appear on shoulder bags.
“I’ve got a lot of younger members on the design team who’ve influenced the collection and we’re still respecting the design codes” and offbeat color mixes, said Beckham. “I haven’t worn short for a long time and I want to wear it in a new, fresh way.”
The collection is lighter, and younger, compared with past seasons. It’s also a little sexier. Under the new designer the focus has shifted away from all the tailoring, and generous proportions, to skinnier, more bodycon silhouettes, although “there’s a real ease about the collection,” said Beckham.
There’s a sheer story going on, too, and the team has gone big on layering, with latex pieces and lacy underpinnings.
Beckham has created VB logo tights, bras, underpants — or knickers, as the Brits say — to layer under dresses and transparent pieces.
The logo underwear, she said, is different from the VB Body collection, a permanent capsule she launched earlier this year that offers leggings, curvy dresses and bodysuits.
For spring 2023, she’s using those lacy pieces — and latex — for long gloves or for layering under romantic dresses with ruffles or ruching at the front.
“It’s very sheer, and there’s a real nod to the 1990s with the styling,” said Beckham.
Tailoring, always a pillar of the Beckham brand, also gets the sheer treatment this season. On one transparent red suit, the seaming, shoulder pads and pocket linings are in full view.
Beckham has had fun with trompe l’oeil, too, such as a leather jacket with flat lapels bonded to the front, or a pair of black jeans covered with a contrasting x-ray-like print.
Beckham is making changes on other fronts, too. She’s set to launch her seventh, and final, collection with Reebok and is looking for a new partner in activewear.
“It’s sad this is the last collection, but I think we’ve proven there is space for us. I think that Reebok has been a big success. I work out every day and want to look good in the gym. I test-wear everything, and I know what’s missing in the market,” said Beckham.
“So we’re onto the next chapter, and I’m excited. Although I don’t know who I’ll be [partnering] with, I’m looking forward to what is next,” she added.
She’s also savoring the current moment.
Beckham said that, in the middle of the pandemic, she was sitting in Miami and wishing she’d enjoyed the process of putting on big shows.
“You can get so caught up in this pressure. But I said that if I am lucky enough to do another show, I would really enjoy it. And I have really enjoyed working with my team. Of course there’s a lot of pressure, but I feel so lucky, not only to be showing in Paris but to be doing a show as an independent brand with all of the obstacles of the pandemic,” she said.
She’s not the only Beckham feeling that sense of gratitude, and community.
He waited 14 hours in the line, and was one of an estimated 250,000 people who paid their respects. He refused to jump the line, said Victoria, who watched the funeral on TV with her husband last week.
“We were all so proud of him and there was no doubt in his mind about doing it. He was invited to jump to the front but he said it just didn’t feel right. He said it was a shared experience, the experience of mourning. And he met some really amazing people, too.”