Drama! Intrigue! Intricacy! Ooh, la-la. Ever since Victoria Beckham climbed the formidable steps of her first Parisian runway this September, a certain air of mystery has filled her London ateliers. “It’s a powerful femininity that’s quite seductive and alluring,” she said during a preview for her follow-up collection for pre-fall. Her words couldn’t have painted a greater contrast to the pragmatic glamour that defined the first 10 years of her brand. Now, she is changing the conversation. Her spiritual move to Paris—with its haute couture appointments and avant-garde esotericism—is ushering in a courageous but confident paradigm shift for Beckham that was evident even in a commercial proposal like her pre-collection.
It’s all in the mystique: sculpturally, dangerously, strangely cut dresses and tops in abstract floral prints and dramatic cinematic colors, crafted in oscillating fluid wools or silks. Some were tensely ruched—part sensual, part aggressive—and others constructed entirely from circular-cut fabric discs that rotated erratically when the model walked down Beckham’s in-house podium. Little knitted tops were subverted in tinselling, so wrong they were right, and deviant mutations like a shiny trouser boot (“I ordered them in every color”) or a big bag adorned with the magnified chain of a men’s wrist watch (a VB signature) were nothing less than intriguing. Appropriately, she cited The Eyes of Laura Mars and Paris, Texas as influences.
Beckham’s suiting illustrated her ambition better than anything. Here, she continued the Paris show’s studies of what can best be described as ‘authentic’ tailoring: architectonic cutting that reveals the steps of the tailor’s process by keeping temporary stitching as adornment and adding details like deconstructed panels. In Beckham’s case, those details feel figurative, like an honest representation of the learning curve she is still experiencing. “This is more than a pre-collection,” she said. “It’s about a wardrobe that is not compromised but still very elevated and very desirable. When I decided to show in Paris, I knew there was more pressure on the team and atelier to take the execution and technique to a whole other level whilst still making it feel easy.”
Beckham may not have traveled the traditional fashion path to the Paris stage, but if that understanding of design is synonymous with intricacy—*intrigue—she is no stranger to it. Her brand was always a representation of herself. If it used to reflect the public image she controls in interviews, photospreads, and on social media, now it’s perhaps beginning to embody the side of Beckham she doesn’t reveal to the public: all the things her fans and clients don’t know about her but would love to. And that, mesdames et messieurs, is a kind of intrigue the whispering rococo salons of Paris wrote the book on.