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Victoria Beckham: A Celebrity Designer Driven to Succeed

Victoria Beckham's new denim and eyewear styles will make their debut Wednesday on Net-a-porter.com and at a few select stores.

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Spring looks from the denim line.

Photo By Courtesy Photo

Spring looks from the denim line.

Photo By Courtesy Photo



Through a new partnership, the British company Cutler and Gross is handling Beckham’s eyewear. In regard to the denim, she is no longer working with Western Glove Works. Spring distribution for the denim and sunglasses will include Bergdorf Goodman, Net-a-porter.com, Harvey Nichols and Maria Luisa, among other stores. Denim retails from $215 to $485 for slim charcoal jeans with square rivets. Eyewear starts at $349 for acetate Wayfarers and tops off at $525 for metal flat-top sunglasses.

“I’m not going to lie — there have been teething problems along the way,” said Beckham, perhaps alluding to the tough run for her dVb denim line, which was launched but subsequently phased out by Saks Fifth Avenue and other stores. “It is always tough when you have partners — you don’t have as much control as you would like. After the success of the dress collection, it just seemed like a natural progression to really take control and take the denim and the sunglasses in-house.

“Everything is now under Victoria Beckham. DVb is no more. Everything is different,” she said, adding the silhouettes, denim and factories have changed.

As for her decision to up the workload, Beckham said: “I can cope with mistakes if they are mistakes that I make myself. So I decided, though it’s more pressure, the time is right.”

Marc Jacobs recently acknowledged her drive. “She is someone who has always wanted to design clothes. She knows the body, she loves it and she’s working her ass off,” he said last month at the WWD CEO Apparel/Retail Summit.

Friendly as they are — Beckham appeared in one of Jacobs’ ads barelegged and upside down in a shopping bag — she didn’t clue him in on her design pursuits. “When I came out with my first collection, I didn’t even tell Marc. Well, I felt a little bit embarrassed. He’s Marc Jacobs. What else can I say? I never really told him, and then we went to dinner and he said congratulations on all the reviews and the quality of my work. I’ve learned so much from him. I am such a sponge whenever I’m around him. He is one of the most intelligent, interesting people that I have ever met.”

 

Unlike several celebrities who have jetted in — and often out just as quickly — of the apparel business using their names and not talent to build brands, Beckham has been more under wraps in her approach. Her low-key presentations are counter to some of the over-the-top runway shows thrown by other luminaries. Madonna and Jennifer Lopez are a few notables who have furthered her cause by wearing her dresses. Asked if she had any words of wisdom for Lindsay Lohan, who is now pitching in at Ungaro, Beckham said: “Goodness, I don’t think I could give anybody any advice. I’m only in my fourth season. I think there is room for everybody and I always say good luck to everybody. I don’t really pay attention too much to what anybody else is doing except for myself. Obviously, I am aware. I’m not being stupid. Everybody is doing their thing and that’s cool.”

Despite being a favorite paparazzi target, Beckham said she doesn’t get sidetracked by what the weeklies print. (Recent reports chronicled her bunion problems.) “I pay absolutely no attention to the tabloids. For me, it’s always fun to look at the pictures — ‘Do I like my hair there? Don’t I like my hair there?’ but that’s pretty much where it ends.…I take it with a pinch of salt. I’ve been doing this for a long, long time now. Living in America, people are less obsessed with tabloids. I don’t read the weekly magazines that come out. I don’t have any interest in that, to be completely honest. Most of the time it is such a load of drivel that I think it’s a waste of time to read it, that I would rather put my energy into something positive.”

Beckham said she prefers to use her creative energy in other directions. At the request of Net-a-porter.com, she developed a 21st-century virtual store appearance with a walk-on cameo on the cover, audio commentary on the collection and tips about how to wear it within the site’s weekly magazine. The site’s founder, Natalie Massenet, said, “Her style resonates [with our shoppers] on many levels — from the look, which is chic and timeless, to the fit, which, thanks to her exacting eye, focuses on flattering silhouettes.”

While a few fashion friends have offered occasional advice from a business standpoint, Beckham insisted she handles all design decisions. Asked if she ever bounces ideas off her friend Roland Mouret, she said, “I have utmost respect for Roland. I think he is incredibly talented. I love what he does. He’s a great businessman. When I very first started working on the dresses, he gave me advice when it came to putting my team together. He doesn’t have anything to do with the design of anything that I do. But he taught me about how to turn my dreams into reality, if you like. He told me I needed a production manager — he helped with that side of things. I do what I do, and he does what he does, and it’s incredibly separate.”

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