Susie Coen tracks VB’s drastic fashion U-turn from WAG to fashion goddess
It’s the modern day version of My Fair Lady: only rather than the cockney Eliza Dootlittle, we have Essex-born Victoria Beckham, and in place of Professor Henry Higgins, Marc Jacobs. Over nearly two decades, Victoria Beckham has made an unrivalled transformation from the PVC wearing ‘Posh Spice’ to the winner of Designer Brand of the Year at the 2011 British Fashion Awards. But how did this renovation happen? And are the sequin hot pants and the fingerless gloves really forgotten, or are the scars from her branding as number one WAG still there but just masterfully covered up?
In 1996 Victoria Adams exploded into the public eye under the nickname ‘Posh Spice’, one of the five members of the hugely successful Spice Girls. Their first album Spice is the best selling album by a female group to date. Each with their own persona (Baby, Ginger, Sporty and Scary), Posh was infamous for her sleek dark bob, pout and monochrome wardrobe. Amongst their endless tours, Posh found time to bag herself England’s number one bachelor, David Beckham. After a year of dating, in 1999 Posh gave birth to her and David’s first son Brooklyn, and later that year Victoria and David were married, to become Britain’s number one power couple.
When the Spice Girls broke up in 2001, Victoria’s fashion went from bad to worse as she attempted a solo career. Shying away from the skimpiness and glitziness of her deceased Spice-self, she opted to perform her solo single… as a pirate? There is too much wrong with this look to list, the bandana, fake lip piercing, tattoos and so much leather a whole herd of cows must have suffered to create this monstrosity.
After accepting the death of her singing career, Victoria embraced her inner fashionista and designed a limited-edition fashion line VB Rocks in 2004. Although the designs were mostly jeans, her desire for creation had been sparked, and later VB styled her dear friend Katie Holmes for the 2006 issue of Harper’s Bazaar. Yet trying to juggle WAG, with her short bob and oversized sunglasses, and fashion designer was not entirely possible. Hideous errors such as this revealing chiffon number reinstated that her tackiness was not so easily shed. However, by passing the torch of queen WAG to Cheryl Cole, VB became more and more of a fashion icon with friends such Karl Lagerfeld, Marc Jacobs and Roberto Cavalli to guide her on her way.
After a U-turn in her style, Victoria became the heiress of sophistication, launching her very own Victoria Beckham label in New York in 2008. Cleverly choosing New York, Victoria was able to reinvent herself overseas from the UK tabloids, whose images of her in next to nothing and fake tan were hard to shed. Beckham’s sleek designs are elegant and beautifully made and have grown in both prominence and popularity, with names such as Eva Longoria and Beyonce choosing to wear her styles on the red carpet.
The now mother-of-four is undeniably chic. At the 2013 International Woolmark Prize awards the 38-year-old wore head-to-toe her own autumn/winter designs, looking classy and elegant but still sexy with a cinched in waist. Likewise, earlier this year at the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund event in LA Victoria wore a gorgeous white sheer shirt, A-line white skirt and nude peep-toe boots, all from her line.
Yet despite her new-found impeccable style, will Victoria Beckham’s tacky days ever be forgotten? Although the Spice Girls wisely sang: ‘If you want my future, forget my past’ I don’t think this is necessary for Victoria. I think her gloriously tacky roots give her a charming edge. Having grown up with her and seen her blossom into a successful, stylish and happy woman, she is an inspiration to every ex-tack around.