Victoria Beckham, the Spice Girl-turned-designer, launched her latest collection, inspired by the American comic strip detective, Dick Tracy, and the contemporary dance pioneer, Martha Graham, at New York Fashion Week.
The collection, her fourth since she established her label in September 2008, was an accomplished and intriguing mix of fluid draping; intense, cartoon colours such as emerald and violet; and trench-coat style, which echoed the garb of the fast-shooting, hard-talking police detective.
Mrs Beckham said she felt the fashion industry was now starting to take her seriously as a designer and she was thrilled to see her clothes being worn by celebrities as diverse as Madonna, Jennifer Hudson, Katherine Jenkins, Elle Macpherson and Courtney Cox.
“But, I’m still learning and I still feel I need to prove myself; all my life I’ve had to prove myself. Each season, I have to better myself. I really want to grow as a designer.”
Her dream, she said, would be to open her own store, “perhaps in five years.”
She launched the collection at an upper East Side mansion, standing tall in five-inch skyscraper heels, which gave the lie to persistent reports she is laid low with crippling bunions, and has been forced to swap her treasured stilettos for ballet-pumps.
The new collection, for autumn/winter 2010/11, retained the details Mrs Beckham has made her fashion signature, such as the spine-tingling, gold zips which snake from nape to knee, the inbuilt corsetry, and the grosgrain ribbon belts.
But, there was a departure from the hourglass-silhouette to a softer, looser shape, expressed in asymmetric, slide-off-the-shoulder necklines, cowled bodices, and draped skirts, in jewel-bright shades, worn with matching, patent platforms.
Mrs Beckham compèred the parade of models, describing each design and drawing particular attention to construction details such as soft folds and tucks which gave movement around the body, and "couture fabrics" such as a black, “wet look”, gloss raffia, and a gunmetal, textured wool.
Particularly effective were a long, coatdress, in gold lame-chiffon, inspired by Dick Tracy’s trench-coat, and split to the thigh: “You have to be careful you’re wearing the right underwear,” she remarked; a flowing, strapless gown in sapphire double-crepe, which she said was “my sexiest dress yet”; and a taupe, liquid-silk jersey, one-shouldered, long gown, which captured the fluidity of contemporary dance, and which Mrs Beckham said she was planning to wear to the Academy Awards.
“I feel the clothes express how my own personal style has evolved, more relaxed, a little more slouchy, but still structured,” she said.