Tom Ford built an empire on the allure of smoke and mirrors; Victoria Beckham is creating one founded on the altogether simpler concept of knowing and adapting to what women want. To an extent, of course, what women want is what Beckham herself wants; her identification with the label, and her customer’s sense of intimacy with her, is as central a part of its appeal as Diane Von Furstenberg’s is at DVF.
Today, on the fringes of the Soho fashion week bubble, in between floods of London rain, she presented her secondary line. Inspired by Marrakesh, and in particular by Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé's Jardin Majorelle – the cool, Berber-tiled oasis in the midst of all that color and throbbing heat – there was a purposeful sense of freedom and femininity throughout. What that meant, clothing-wise, were short, flared or pleat-backed dresses with punched cut-outs and exaggerated eyelet details, and gauzy skirts blooming with embossed florals; separates carpeted with folk-inspired foliage print; and standouts like tile-patterned shirts, two-tone midis, and macramé sweaters.
There was something of the relaxation which has crept into the designer’s mainline collection of late. And the palette – snow white, reversed denim blue, and those intense, shocking Saint Laurent pinks and oranges – managed a clever blend of the delicate and the exotic. If anything, it echoed the kind of dressing made famous by Gaby Aghion (and Karl Lagerfeld) at Chloé, the label which pioneered the notion of prêt-à-porter six decades ago. The femininity, the softness, the exuberance, and the romance were all the kinds of things which Chloé once stood for – as was the idea of a complete, rounded wardrobe designed for living. And with Victoria, Victoria Beckham, that notion of depth seems to be becoming increasingly central to the conversation.