IN the October issue victoria of Vogue, on newsstands now, Victoria Beckham writes a letter to her 18-year-old self. "You are not the prettiest, or the thinnest, or the best at dancing, at the Laine Theatre Arts college," the forty-two-year-old writes. "You think the principal has put you at the back of the end-of-year show (in a humiliatingly bright purple Lycra leotard) because you are too plump to go at the front. (This may or may not be true.)"
Sucks to be that principal, hey? The girl in the back line is now mistress of an aesthetic that defines easy but polished femininity. She holds catwalk shows in the vast Cunard building in New York beneath Italian neo-Renaissance ceilings for 700 people and gets overwhelmingly positive reviews. She helms a business that generates more money than her husband (no mean feat, when one considers the power of his left foot alone). And her spring/summer 2017 collection is just another string to her already well-endowed bow: she's loosened up, and in the process created a slouchy, unfettered look that women of all shapes and sizes will want to wear next year.
Backstage before the show, she welled up when asked about the process of writing the letter for Vogue. "When I first saw the interview, I cried. Then I read it to my mum. My mum cried. Then I read it to my hairdresser. He cried. Because it was almost like therapy. It brought everything back. And I came away thinking, how on earth did you carry on?"
The emotional softness seems to have coincided with her aesthetic relaxing. "The signature silhouette is there but it's evolved, it's deconstructed. I was trying on a jacket and just letting it fall off my shoulder, open, slouchy, and I thought, that looks really cool. It's about softening up this season. I wanted the clothes to look like they'd just been thrown on." To that end, midi dresses in smocked lace, pleated wafer-thin leather, washed silks, and crushed, super fine velvet had dropped waists and fell away from the body. Khaki and navy suits in heavy satin were slightly oversized and worn with bralettes, Nineties style. Other things Victoria was loving: knee-high canvas boots for summer in chic grey ("they feel so fresh"); new leather pouf handbags (she'd reserved the mint iteration for her own personal victoria by victoria beckham spring / summer 2017 rtw – new york fashion week use immediately after the show); bright velvet in hot orange and peppermint; and suiting, which came without fastenings in the new laid-back mood.
"I never, ever say, 'Haven't I done well?' because I'm always on to the next thing. But I saw that cover and thought: bloody well done."
Let it be known: Victoria Beckham is softening up.
With thanks to Capstar.
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