Victoria Beckham will return to the form-fitting dresses with which she launched her fashion career in a bid to bounce back from sales lost during the pandemic.
“VB Body” dresses, in a dense compact knit designed to shape the body and accentuate curves, will be launched in April, marking a departure from the loose silhouettes which have become the signature at her loss-making high-fashion label.
At a preview in her London studio, Beckham said the shift was influenced by spending time in Florida, where her husband, David Beckham, owns a stake in football team Inter Miami.
“As I’ve gotten into fashion, the more layers of clothes I have worn. I’ve been burying myself under clothes. But in Miami, if you go out at night in a midi length skirt and a pussy-bow blouse, people think you’ve lost your mind. That is a normal outfit for me in London and I still love wearing it. But Miami has opened my eyes to the fact that looking feminine and curvy is so important to so many women.”
Beckham’s luxury brand lost £8.6m in 2020. The results were an improvement on 2019’s £16.8m losses, due to a strong performing beauty line, but the brand is yet to turn a profit. Last year, average prices at the label were reduced by 40% by a shift toward casual wear and simpler fabrics, in a bid to broaden the customer base.
Price tags for the VB Body range will start at £90. “This is not a vanity project and commercial is not a dirty word,” said Beckham, who praised the chief executive, Marie Leblanc, “for getting the business into the best shape it has ever been in”.
Footfall at the brand’s Mayfair flagship remains well short of pre-pandemic levels, although virtual appointments conducted from the store via FaceTime with clients in their homes are bringing in sales.
Beckham says she thinks it’s time ‘to get back to normal, to start dressing properly and get back to the office again’. Photograph: VB
“I dress women to go out, to go to work, to travel – all things which have been limited over the past two years, so business has been a real challenge,” Beckham said. “I think it’s time to get back to normal, to start dressing properly and get back to the office again, if I’m perfectly honest. It’s great to see my office full again.”
Financial restraint looks set to rule out a catwalk show during London fashion week. “Shows are really expensive, and if we were going to have one in February we’d need to commit to that now. For a small independent brand that’s a huge investment,” said Beckham.
A planned show was cancelled due to lockdown in 2020 at a significant loss to the business. The designer joins a growing list of cancellations scaling back the approaching catwalk season, with Giorgio Armani, Ann Demeulemeester, Brunello Cucinelli and JW Anderson all postponing live events or pivoting to a digital format.
Beckham’s high-fashion “pre-fall” collection, which will go on sale in April, brings her mantra of “bringing sexy back” to her signature demure silhouette. Curved seaming has been optimised on long skirts and dresses “to make the most of a great bum and a good waist, to celebrate being a woman. I don’t want to dress for comfort or hide under baggy clothes any more.”
Bright citrus shades in the collection were inspired by the pistachio seating and marmalade coloured walls at the Sant Ambroeus restaurant in Palm Beach, Florida. “We were having dinner, and I had David [Beckham] take a picture of me so I could send it to the atelier,” the designer said. “A wink of bad taste makes the collection cooler.”