VICTORIA BECKHAM SPRING 2021 READY-TO-WEAR

“Tasteless! Shocking! Classless!”

By Balthzar Malevolent

VICTORIA BECKHAM SPRING 2021 READY-TO-WEAR

“Tasteless! Shocking! Classless!” read the daily Victoria Beckham tabloid headlines minutes before our preview. She had posted an Instagram collection teaser of—hold on to your 21st-century hats—a model’s naked nipples veiled by a translucent azure blue blouse. “There was me thinking we all had nipples,” the designer shrugged. “I would like you to write that they are my breasts, because they are,” she added, ever the sarcastic. “They’re good, aren’t they?”

Unlike most other designers, Beckham is constantly confronted with the contrast between her industry’s fashion-forward opinions of what is “sexy” or “cool” versus the more traditional tastes of her broad mainstream audience. During lockdown when she accepted her government’s furlough scheme, she was also the only designer to face front-page scrutiny for it. As a result, she dropped the furloughs and soldiered on.

In that sense, Beckham’s Instagram teaser was an apt reflection of her brand’s status quo as well as her new visual direction for a changed fashion world: stripped down. Faced with a challenging financial business situation, she reduced her typical 45 looks to 20, cast just four models, and replaced early plans for intimate salon shows with a short film shot in her favorite East London contemporary art gallery, Victoria Miro. She opened the presentation with an inspired speech about this momentous chapter in time, putting her original stage training to good use.

This was no post-lockdown pity party, however. “I found the whole thing liberating. Everything changed this season and it reminds me why I fell in love with the industry in the first place, all those years ago when I used to do smaller presentations and narrate through them,” Beckham said. “We weren’t in a position to have 10 fashion stories and narrow it down to one or two. We had to be very focused and strategic. I’ve really enjoyed coming to work. So much. That sense of freedom is what my business needs right now.”

If recent Victoria Beckham collections have reached a trussed-up tailoring high, she uncinched her metaphorical corset here. Her lines were longer, more languid, even slouchy. Floor-length jersey dresses caressed the body rather than constricted it. She loosened the waists of maxidresses and allowed them to drop. Her 1970s tailoring felt more lenient in form, and she described the season’s super-flared trouser, split at the back, as “puddling on the floor.” Cutouts felt sensual rather than strict.

Victoria Beckham Spring 2021 Ready-to-Wear.
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