The success of Victoria Beckham as a global brand has left the fashion industry standing to attention. Her recent A/W 12 collection, exhibited last week, showcased constructed silhouettes in a militaristic style; the paradoxical blend of androgyny chic and sexy silhouette. But, what makes this collection seemingly her most successful to date?
As always, Beckham’s pieces were purposeful, structured and body-conscious. The dresses which made up the majority of her A/W 12 collection were panelled and second-skin slim. Necklines mainly remained high and were accentuated by sharp, masculine collars, or were formatted in a low, right-angled template. The dresses were not only utilitarian but detailed; epaulets, gold buttons and jersey cuffs also helped to keep her figure-hugging shapes masculine.
The use of thin doubled-up belts over dresses and jackets drew attention to tiny waists, and put emphasis to feminine shapes. Even the mid-length trench coat boasted a flirty A-line structure, in keeping with the sense of strict femininity and daring stand-out shapes. Beckham also utilised geometric colour blocking as part of her twenty-two piece catwalk; blacks, browns, reds, blues, and khakis emphasised masculine features and kept the pieces fresh and on-trend. Many felt attention to detail was at the heart of her success. The Christian Louboutin biker boots also helped set apart Victoria Beckham from the fashion crowd.
Yet to be cynical, I cannot help but recognise a sense of vanity about the collection. It undoubtedly comprises garments that she has designed using herself as the muse; thin legs on skyscraper stilettos, flat chests and tiny waists. In an interview with The Guardian newspaper she admits, “I am designing what I want to wear myself, and I cannot wait to wear it.” She also boldly claims in the interview “if it’s not right for my wardrobe, it’s not right for the brand.” Posing a tough question, are we simply investing in a celebrity instead of true fashion?
When talking about her inspirations, she capitalises on her everyday lifestyle, crediting the use of stripes, colour blocking and cuffed sleeves to her son’s baseball kit. Or rather, the ‘Harper’ handbag, which is perhaps the most talked-about aspect of the line. Can a seven-month-old baby be a fashion icon? Is it necessary for the messenger-style tote bag to be named after her child, other than to capitalise on her own image? It seems every aspect of the A/W collection is very much redirected to her. But since her line is already sold out for the foreseeable future, she certainly must be doing something right.
Many worry celebrity style icons are the future of fashion, where brands will increasingly run as businesses and those with higher celebrity value will prosper regardless of their historical credibility in the industry. Whatever the case, we cannot deny that Beckham, with her strict feminine structures and meticulous style, is a fashion-forward force to be reckoned with.