LONDON — Victoria Beckham is pumping up the volume for spring: She has a ready-to-wear collection that’s packed with voluminous silhouettes and bold colors, and a new, signature color cosmetics offer that shimmers, smokes — and has a sustainable angle, too.
Nothing is stopping Beckham from pressing on with business, certainly not the departure of the company’s chief executive officer Paolo Riva, who left in July after 10 months, for personal reasons.
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Ralph Toledano, chairman of the fashion house and acting ceo, said the search continues for Riva’s successor and the company’s strategies are all on track.
“We have the same plan and we’re focused on that,” said Toledano, adding the company was “extremely excited” about the launch this weekend of Victoria Beckham Beauty, a direct-to-consumer brand that will be available at Beckham’s London store on Dover Street, and via the brand’s web site.
“It’s a natural move and she’s personally passionate about it. Going direct-to-consumer was exactly the right strategy for this,” he said.
During a walk-through at her Hammersmith headquarters before the show, Beckham was busy showing off the clothes, smearing bits of her Lid Luster eye shadow on the inside of her forearm, and touting her new gold eyeliner.
The cosmetics are meant to work in tandem with the colors of her spring ready-to-wear collection, which was inspired by Seventies movies and music, “and put into the VB blender. We throw the ideas and references in there — and see what comes out,” said the designer.
Volume, color and off-kilter proportions are the big stories, with ruffles “dancing around the body” of a long bright purple dress, while the hanging ties on white blouses have been transformed into long, frothy cascades of ruffles.
“When you put these dresses on, you have got all of this fabric that falls around the body, and actually they are really flattering and comfortable at the same time. They have all got pockets as well, which I think is always really nice; it just changes your attitude with your hands in your pockets. It’s nice and light and perfect for summer,” she said.
Prints are prominent, too, with a red scribble print winding across a white silk blouse, fluffs of pampas grass placed here and there on a black top and flower prints that feel like they’re popping out of a dress.
The play on proportion isn’t limited to the clothes: Beckham pointed to a pair of black bow pumps with an unusually low heel. Personally, she said she plans to pair them with a tailored suit.
“It throws the dimension off — and there’s something a little sick about that,” she said. “It looks a little bit strange, in a good way.”
The colors are in your face, and include a bright green dress with a fat ruffle down the front. Those brights should pop in the vast room at the British Foreign Office in Westminster, which is bathed in natural light.
“I personally enjoy wearing color — it makes me feel energized and positive — and it’s flattering. I like mixing unexpected colors, too. There is always something strange about the color mixes in the collection.”
To offset all of the bold color, Beckham has done lots of neutral, tone-on-tone tailoring, too.
She’s going big on accessories as well. Flanking those black flats are purple stiletto sandals. The jewelry is shiny and gold while models will wear fat flowers at their necks on stretchy fabric bands.
Beckham is toying with the idea of putting her latest sunglass styles on the runway — oversize frames in a host of new shapes.
Those accessories, though, will inevitably be overshadowed by the cosmetics launch this weekend.
Beckham said developing it has been like “giving birth to my fifth child. This really is a dream come true for me. It’s the pieces that I want in my makeup bag, and I think the packaging is beautiful,” she said.
The brand endeavors to use the smallest amount of plastic possible in a bid to be kind to the environment. It bills itself as cruelty-free, offering a range of “high-performing formulas and beauty essentials” with “clean” ingredients.
The brand said it provides full transparency on each ingredient used, and what role it plays for each product. The brand also clarifies which products are vegan-friendly and shares its product development philosophy and approach to ingredient selection.
“When I was doing my research, going around department stores, I was asking people at the makeup counters what was in the products and, no one could tell me,” said Beckham.
“It took such a long time to research, but I have made it very easy for my customer. I have done all of that work for her. So you just go on the web site and all of the ingredients are listed.”
The secondary packaging comes from 100 percent postconsumer waste while the shipping materials are recyclable or biodegradable. Beckham said products are wrapped in a protective packaging that can then be dissolved under the bathroom tap.
Each order is delivered in a reusable canvas pouch.
“The packaging is so chic and beautiful. I love it and the cases can actually fit very easily in your pocket. They’re so slim — I love them,” said Beckham, who worked with Ezra Petronio on the packaging.
The collection has launched with a focus on the eyes — including an entire Smoky Eye Collection — while skin care and other categories will follow later this year.
Beckham has cofounded the brand with Sarah Creal, whose title is ceo.
Asked whether she’d ever take the brand to third-party distribution partners, Beckham said she’s sticking with direct-to-consumer for the moment.
“I would love to do pop-ups at some point when the time is right, but I think initially direct-to-consumer works for me. I was going direct to consumer before I had a standalone store and the digital side of things is something that really interests me and excites me.
“It is a way that I can communicate directly with my customers through my different social platforms and really have fun with it. It also makes it easier for the customer as well. She can go online and get her product really quickly. So it is really making shopping easy. If the customer wants to see it, they can go to my store and play with it and have fun.”
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