One would think that Victoria Beckham would’ve been exhausted last night since just the day before, she showed her latest collection at New York Fashion Week. But the designer, former singer, mother, and all-around icon was full of energy as she addressed an auditorium of students and journalists at Parsons in conversation with the college’s Dean of Fashion, Simon Collins. (And not to rub it in, but Beckham actually mentioned that she spent the morning at boot camp. Is she even human?)
Though the theme of the night was obviously her fashion career, a very talkative Beckham was happy to cover a range of topics, including her former identity as Posh Spice, her spouse’s modelling habits, and the fact that she can’t get over calling Valentino Garavani, who lives three doors down, her neighbor.
But in spite of her all of her successes—because, seriously, she has an incredible fashion career, a gorgeous family, and even a past as a world famous pop star under her belt—Beckham was refreshingly humble. She was quick to detail how much it took for her to earn a legitimate name for herself in the industry, and the immense work she puts into her brand on a daily basis. And, in spite of her own celebrity status, she even admitted to fangirling a little bit when she sees any of her peers wearing her designs, saying, “That’s a big deal…I never want that to go.” And yes, she smiled (and joked, and laughed!)—for most of the conversation, actually. From accepting the fact that singing isn’t really her thing to setting a good example for her daughter in the name of Sheryl Sandberg, here’s what we took away from the revealing conversation.
She’s not above cheesy Spice Girls references.
When Collins asked if she always knew that fashion was “what she really wanted to do,” she responded, “Is there a pun in there?” and laughed, followed by “Yes, it’s what I wanted, what I really, really wanted.”
She feels more comfortable as a designer than she did in the Spice Girls.
“I had a great time being in the Spice Girls, I really did,” she said, “But fashion was always my passion. I’m living a dream, and every morning I wake up and pinch myself. Right now is where I really feel comfortable, and I believe that I’m competing in an arena where actually, I’m good at it. I was never going to be the best singer, or the best dancer, and that was okay. “
Her very first fashion show involved VIP treatment from Donatella Versace herself.
“I was invited by Donatella Versace to go to Milan, and it was incredible. She took me to the store, and she dressed me, and then I went to the show. I’d never been to a fashion show, and felt that intensity and energy. I actually ran into Donatella recently, and she said in her wonderful Italian accent, ‘Remember when you came to your first fashion show, and you altered the clothes [I gave you]?'”
She’s a team player.
Multiple times throughout the evening, Beckham emphasized the importance of both working for other people and surrounding yourself with a great team. “I didn’t go to fashion college, but I spent quite a few years working for other designers,” she said. “And I learned so much. That’s the best advice I can give anybody: Don’t leave and try to start your own company. Get out there and work for other people. Be a sponge; have your eyes open, and enjoy. But learn.” As for her team: “I’m not doing this on my own. I have an incredible team of people who work really hard. Until you put yourself out there, you don’t realize what it takes.”
She considers Marc Jacobs to be her original mentor.
“He’s a very good friend of mine,” she said. “He gave me so much advice—not even about designing clothes, but about the business.” An example of his guidance: “He said that if you design a collection and it’s really good, then people can say that they don’t like it, but they can’t say that it’s rubbish.”
About her reputation…
“Everybody thinks I’m going to be a prima donna, so when I’m not, it’s a pleasant surprise,” she joked, and then more seriously: “I don’t think there’s any room for that, to be honest; I really don’t. It’s about being focused and working hard. Maybe some companies do have people who are a little bit prissy, but that’s the way they work. But it definitely doesn’t work for what I do.”