Former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham is an undisputed master of the career move, having transitioned from pop princess to professional clotheshorse to bona-fide fashion designer: Her eponymous clothing line, a hit among critics and starlets alike, is now in its seventh season. Beckham’s empire, which already included handbags, sunglasses and a trio of sons, saw two additions this year: a lower-priced, deliciously feminine new line called Victoria Victoria Beckham and a new baby girl by the name of Harper, her first daughter. During a visit not long ago to Holt Renfrew in Vancouver, where she presented a trunk show of her main collection for fall, the L.A.-based (and unexpectedly friendly) knockout mused on the appeal of girlyness, her road to fashion-world credibility and the celebrity endorsement that recently had her very excited.
When you started, you received guidance from designer friends such as Marc Jacobs and Roland Mouret. Do you still take their advice or are you following your own path now?
I still love to get advice, whether from a designer or when I’m doing an event such as this one and I meet a customer who gives advice on what she wants. I’m always welcoming of that kind of thing.
You currently live in Los Angeles [where her husband, soccer star David Beckham, plays for the Galaxy]. Do you miss London?
I travel to the U.K. once a month and my [design] team travels to L.A., too. My sense of style has always been European, but I love living in America. I love the American people, my kids are happy, David’s happy. So I get the best of both worlds and I travel a lot.
Has the move informed your design approach in any way?
No, not really. The more you travel, the more you soak up different cultures – and that’s what influences you. Has my aesthetic changed because I live in L.A.? Not at all. But I love it there; it’s a great place.
A lot of celebrity lines are met with eye rolls, but yours has credibility. What are you doing differently?
Goodness, well, I think that there’s room for everybody. I feel blessed to be doing what I love to do – I’m designing clothes that I want to wear myself. I didn’t go out there to prove anybody wrong; I just wanted to do what I felt like I had to. For me, it’s about growing this brand in the right way. It’s about, yes, doing what I want design-wise, but still having a strong business head on my shoulders as well. That’s very important.
Do you read your own press? Is being accepted by the fashion media important to you?
Yes, it’s very important. The industry has been very kind and welcoming. And I believe that the line has spoken for itself, the quality of it has spoken for itself. I mean, I read my reviews and anybody who says they don’t is probably not telling the truth.
Getting dressed up – is that work for you now or do you still find the fun in fashion?
Oh God no, I love clothes. It doesn’t feel like a job to me. For a long time, I said that this is like a hobby that’s done really, really well.
You came from a place where people watched you constantly, where they critiqued and commented on what you wore out. How has that informed the way you design?
You know, I’ve learned so much from being that person on the red carpet, realizing that something doesn’t just have to look good from the back or the front but it’s got to look good from a 360-degree angle. I’ve learned so much from being that person who buys designer clothes, wears designers clothes and stands on a red carpet getting looked at from every single angle. I know, as a woman, how I want to look and how I want to feel.
A lot of your dresses have details, such as zippers and accents on the back, that consider those angles.
I think that, each season, I want to have a strong fashion message. It’s about staying true to myself and having a signature. Things like the zip – that’s really something that women can appreciate. And it’s certainly something that men can appreciate as well.
Earlier this year, you launched a second line, Victoria Victoria Beckham. What was your vision for it?
It was a great way to build the business because I could open up the production: I could still produce in Europe, but not necessarily in London, where the main line is made. I haven’t compromised with fabric or design, but I can offer a line at a slightly more affordable price. It’s the other side of my wardrobe, the other side of my suitcase. It’s the other side to my personality.
It’s very different from the main line. It’s still feminine, but in such a different way. I’d say it’s girly, playful. Michelle Williams comes to mind.
And she wore one of those dresses [at this year’s Oscar nominees’ luncheon and a BAFTA party]! She’s such a fashion icon and I was so excited when I saw her wearing [my clothes] – I wasn’t expecting that at all. You know, I was pregnant [with Harper] when I was designing the Victoria line and I didn’t know I was having a girl – I thought I was having another boy – and everything [I created] was very feminine, very girly. We joked in the design meetings that wouldn’t it be funny if, this time, I actually had a girl.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
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