Victoria Beckham’s autumn 2015 New York fashion week collection officially began at 10am on Sunday morning inside Cipriani’s in downtown Manhattan. Mint teas on silver trays greeted guests escaping the frigid -9C outside, and family Beckham – coiffed and in monochrome – snapped selfies on the front row.
But, in reality, the show started a few days earlier when the designer was photographed by paparazzi at JFK airport slinking through the arrivals lounge wearing camel trousers with a belted side detail and a leopard holdall. A hint to those looking for early clues as to her collection.
Beckham is no fool. She has long since worked out how to use that particular privacy intrusion in the lead-up to fashion week. So inextricably linked is the personal style of the industry’s most notable pop star-turned-designer and her catwalk designs that these pictures act as the unofficial preamble to the show. Backstage after Sunday’s show, between soliciting reviews from her three-year-old daughter Harper, Beckham reiterated that it was so important for her clothes to be flattering so that they could go “straight from the catwalk on to one of my ladies” – or indeed (as went unsaid) herself.
As it turned out, the tie detail of those JFK camel trousers – a nod to deconstruction and menswear – was a side note to a collection which eschewed any strict theme and focused instead on texture and a reworking of the dress. It was was undoubtedly Beckham’s most effortlessly cool collection to date.
She has developed such a reputation for precision and rigour that last season it seemed as if she had backed herself into a minimal corner with a collection that riffed on uniforms and landed a little flat. It was, unusually, criticised.
But this season, Beckham’s collection, which played with twists, volume and asymmetry, was much less uptight and all the better for it. The designer admitted that the word most overused in the atelier this season was “bounce”. One standout look was a chunky navy polo-neck jumper with balloon sleeves worn with a midi-length jumbo cord skirt featuring a coat belt slung down over the hip. It was equal parts swagger and luxury, which is no mean feat.
The creations were also a little sexier than of late. Not in an obvious way – the cocktail dresses with supreme corsetry with which she launched her label are not back on the catwalk – but she began with a dress and twisted and draped and deconstructed and reworked it until, as she explained, “ a more body-conscious silhouette emerged”.
It was a collection less concerned with being at the cold edge of minimalism and more of a return to sexy-Victoria-Beckham-who-knows-about-fashion. Hence the knitted dresses had side splits above the waist to reveal toned side-flanks, skimmed slinkily over the hips and were split to above the knee. But crucially for fashion kudos, they ended with a luxurious hefty swish of cashmere and a pair of stompy high-heeled calf boots.
While there were some derivative points in the collection, on the whole, it felt authentic and modern. Less uptight and on trend, but cooler, more liberated with a luxurious swish. As the designer said: ”I wanted to play and have fun; I think you can see that in the collection.”
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