‘I designed this collection before I got pregnant, so this was the only dress I could wear,’ Victoria Beckham told us before taking a front row seat to talk us through her AW2011 collection. The dress was a grey and beige cocoon tunic in babyfine cashmere. The venue was the grand Upper East side townhouse that was the location of Big and Carrie’s dream apartment in Sex & The City and has been fashion week home to the Victoria Beckham collection for the past three seasons.
And on this, her sixth season in business, Mrs Beckham is getting better and better. What started as a capsule collection of dresses that looked like her personal wardrobe, has expanded into something more fully formed. ‘I’ve eased up the corsetry a lot,’ she explained.’ I’ve travelled and loosened up in my own skin. I feel I have evolved as a person and this has evolved as a collection.’
The dresses all start with a very neat shoulder (sans pads, but cut sharply and close to the natural line). And for lovers of the second skin column there are still lots to choose form in the dense jersey rib (‘women love how it holds them in’) that she has made her signature fabric, like her 100th dress with seams circling the body. ‘I started numbering the dresses six seasons ago back when I started and never thought I’d get to this point.’
But more interesting were the easier shapes cut with gentle volume and movement: a cerise swing dress cut above the knee in four meters of heavy wool crepe. A kingfisher blue dress knee length cocoon dress cut in silk gazar. Or the floor length pleated dress with soft draped neckline. 'I love pleats but never knew how to wear them,’ she explained of a dress in saffron wool with drop waist and knife pleated skirt. ‘The pleats were ironed in by hand in the studio.’ She called the colours of ochre, saffron, brick and scarlet, her ‘desert brights’.
She ‘decided to have a go at coats’ for the first time: a simple shape with vertical seams and stand up collar or a drop waisted pleated option were perfect companion pieces for those slim dresses and ladylike bags. The bag collection has expanded to include over the body cashmere duffles and a collaboration with Christian Louboutin has provided some pretty fabulous straight knee high boots.
With Anna Wintour on her front row and a room full of fashion A-listers, Victoria Beckham has become a fully fledged fixture of the NY collections.
- Paula Reed in New York