Boss. Don't mess. #husbandhatesherclothes
Wow, Victoria Beckham really brings out the vitriol in some people, doesn't she? I guess that’ll happen when you’re insanely rich and successful, with a ridiculously handsome, equally successful husband and four beautiful children who, it seems, haven’t made a dent on your model-worthy figure. Now she has a shiny new OBE and many people, including many commenters on Glamour’s Facebook page, Just. Cannot. Deal.
If you read the papers, you would be forgiven for thinking that slagging off Victoria Beckham is a recognised national sport. As our entertainment editor, Helen Whitaker said to me this morning, ‘She could save someone’s life on live television and there’d still be sniping about her doing the CPR all wrong.’
But I’m not joining in, sorry. Victoria Beckham deserves her honour. Period.
Apparently there was some outrage at her bucking protocol and letting slip before the official announcement. Slightly cringey, perhaps. But in an amazing week when Prince Harry downloaded so openly about his struggles with mental health, maybe it’s a sign that there are some positives in unclenching about ancient royal rules.
Full disclosure: I will always have enormous respect for Victoria. Let it be said, I’m a fan, mainly because of the unswerving work ethic I recognise in her.
I love the determination that pumps through her veins. She’s cheerily admitted she’s not the best singer in the world and yet, there she was, pride of place in one of Britain’s most iconic, era-defining pop bands. That grit spurred her on, too, when she launched what would turn out to be a much-derided outing as a solo singer. Did she let your sniggering at her streety lip ring kill her confidence? Did she heck. She tried it, she didn’t like it, she shrugged, possibly swiped on some TCP over that lip hole and moved on.
Of course, a lot of pearl-clutching went on when Victoria announced she was going to launch a Fashion label. ‘You can’t just decide you’re going to be a fashion designer,’ was the general jist I heard between gasps at the time. But VB had no time for that BS. I think she was mindful of her knowledge gaps and just seriously buckled down to plug them. I’ve admired from afar her evolution from a designer who knew she had to earn her place at the table to spearheading one of Britain’s most popular brands – a label whose fashion show Anna Wintour would never dream of missing.
Bottom line? Her clothes are fantastic. She’s built a loyal, growing legion of customers because she really gets how women want to dress. Elegant tailoring, but to flatter in quality fabrics that don’t wilt after a few dry-cleans. With just edgy enough touches that give her collections their own witty point of view. She thinks about the finer details of making sure that getting dressed doesn’t waste your time. And she thinks about how a woman wants to feel when she is dressed: polished, chic, in control. As far as I’m concerned, her innate understanding of how a woman wants to feel is an enormous service to fashion. And that’s before we even discuss the services to the British fashion industry as a whole.
And that, when you drill down, is what’s really going on here isn’t it?
I suspect a lot of the sniping is for the very fact that the honour is connected to fashion. Her husband received his OBE for the more respected, ‘male’ hobby of sport. Fashion, on the other hand, is a predictably favourite punching bag. I’ve heard all the tired complaints about it being superficial and trivial, so here’s where I rattle off again the well-worn fact about British fashion. It’s a really big deal. In fact it’s a £26 billion mother of a deal that contributes more than the car industry to the British economy. In this phase of Brexit-induced uncertainty, I’m happy to be supportive of something this country leads with and exports, brilliantly. And that little label of Victoria’s that no one thought would do anything, is now a huge, vital part of that industry.
Thanks to mega fans like Jennifer Lopez, Michelle Williams and our very own Duchess of Cambridge, Victoria’s label helps cement Britain’s global fashion authority.
And yet still, whenever I wear one of her designs, the compliments I get are usually followed by someone gasping ‘No way!’ when I tell them it’s Victoria Beckham. Can we all just hold the raised eyebrows, please, because she’s damn good at what she does.
Click below to see how Victoria became the fashion icon she is today..