Bona fide designer

Bona fide designer
A model walks the runway during the Victoria Beckham Autumn/Winter 2015 collection show at Singapore Fashion Week 2015

Guess who is having the last laugh?

Fashion designer Victoria Beckham was once mocked for her attempts at becoming a designer.

But the former member of the popular 1990s girl group, Spice Girls, has managed to silence her critics.

In 2013, her business turned over £30 million (S$62 million) in sales, a 91 per cent increase from the previous year.

Last year, she opened her first flagship store in London, and beat strong contenders such as Alexander McQueen and Stella McCartney for the prestigious title of Brand of the Year at the British Fashion Awards 2014.

She showcased her understated and modern aesthetic at Singapore Fashion Week last month by restaging her fall/winter 2015 show of turtleneck dresses, chunky knits, tailored coats and swingy skirts. It was a collection anchored in comfort without compromising on sophistication and sex appeal.

Her label is available on multi-label e-tailer Net-A-Porter.

Besides the ready-to-wear line, her business is also made up of Victoria, Victoria Beckham, a younger and relatively more affordable diffusion line; denim, accessories and eyewear.

The designer was also in town to launch her line of nail polish created in collaboration with British brand Nails Inc.

During her visit, the mother of four, who is married to former footballer David Beckham, sat down with Urban to talk about her career, beauty and family.

You were here in Singapore last year to showcase your collections at two private events; what were some of your takeaways from that trip?

The women here are beautiful and they really understand fashion; they know how to dress and really appreciate quality. I was very excited to be invited back to close Singapore Fashion Week because it was the first time that we had taken our show and presented it somewhere else other than in New York City.

I love coming to Singapore; what's not to love?

What are some of your immediate business plans?

A year ago in September, we opened our flagship store in London. We've now decided that the second stand-alone store will be in Hong Kong, and it will hopefully open in the first quarter of next year.

Asia is our fastest growing market, so I plan on spending a lot more time here. We're also looking at retail in Miami, New York City, Los Angeles; we're looking everywhere.

You met three local designers (Priscilla Shunmugam, Sabrina Goh and Chelsea Scott-Blackhall) on this trip - what did you think of their work?

They were very, very sweet. I saw only a very small part of their collection, but there were some nice pieces. I talked to them about their inspiration, where they are manufacturing, where they are selling the clothes, what they want to do and about their business plans.

I love working with other designers and, if I can offer them any advice, I always enjoy doing that.

Would you consider becoming a creative director for another brand?

I would, but I can't at the moment because I have four children and I'm so hands-on with my brand. I have five categories (ready-to-wear, Victoria, Victoria Beckham, accessories, eyewear and denim) now and substantial pre-collections for all of the categories, so I currently don't have the time.

What other categories would you like to go into?

There are so many things - make-up, fragrance, shoes, menswear and kidswear. I'd like to do other things that may not come under fashion, too.

What is the hardest thing about being a designer without formal training?

I don't think there's anything specific. Although I didn't train to be a designer, I worked with other brands before I opened my own label. I've also surrounded myself with a great team of people and I'm learning every day. Even if you've had formal training, you still need to keep learning.

What is your design process like?

At the beginning of every season, I'll just sit down with my design team and talk about inspiration - what I've seen, what I'd like to wear myself and what I'm feeling for that season.

Then, we'll move on to mood boards and put together pieces of vintage clothing.

Sometimes, we'll start from a base shape, cut it and then add things - we'll play.

But it could be anything, really. It depends on what the season is and which category.

Aside from your own label, where else do you like to shop?

I like Dover Street Market in London, Comme des Garcons and Junya Watanabe.

What is a typical day in your life like?

Like any working mum, I get up early. I work out before I get the children up, take the children to school and then I go to work.

But I'm very lucky that I can plan my schedule around the kids' schedules.

The most important role for me is being a mother; I don't ever want to miss anything that the children are doing. David and I are very present with the kids.

What is your secret to youthful skin?

The humidity here has been great for my skin.

But it's keeping your skin clean. Every day, I cleanse, exfoliate and moisturise. I also do regular face masks.

Get as much sleep as you can and drink lots of water.

Have any of your children shown interest in the fashion business?

They like fashion and take pride in the way they dress when they go out, but most of the time, they are in a football kit.

Harper likes to play football with her brothers in the garden, but she's also very girly. She likes to wear pretty dresses and she's got very long hair, so she likes to have her hair plaited.

She also likes to wear my shoes. When I come back from work, she'll be standing by the front door and the first thing that she wants to do is to put on my shoes. She'll wear my shoes, sunglasses, carry my handbag and walk around the house.

What are some items that you never leave home without?

I always have Elizabeth Arden's Eight Hour cream.

A Tangle Teezer hair brush that I also use on Harper. Hand cream. I like those from Byredo, and I never leave home without an eyebrow brush either.


This article was first published on June 5, 2015.
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