Q&A: Victoria Beckham chats fashion and motherhood with our editor-in-chief in Vancouver

Victoria Beckham
Victoria Beckham

Victoria Beckham is late. Not fashionably tardy. Not mildly delayed. She is a full two hours behind schedule. Cooling their Louboutin heels at a private luncheon at Holt Renfrew’s Vancouver store is an immaculately dressed group of top tier clients, some in chiffony Lanvin, a few poured into Beckham’s signature body-con shifts. Downstairs, fans have been gathering in a roped-off area near the cosmetics department since the doors opened at 10. They are hoping for a peek as Beckham poses for photographers on a podium. Her private jet touched down around noon, but a paperwork snafu has kept Beckham and her hair and makeup team frozen in some kind of cross-border limbo. The most annoyed? Her one-year-old daughter, Harper.

“I am so, so sorry,” Beckham announces as she finally bursts into the room after signing autographs downstairs. “I’ve been stuck on a runway for two hours with a screaming baby.” Beckham takes her front-row seat, gratefully accepts a glass of pink Champagne (“I really need this,” she sighs) and settles in for a show of her fall collection. With her hair in a loose side braid, a navy and turquoise panelled dress skimming her slim hips and her legs crossed in high black suede boots, she studies the models with the intensity of an army commander inspecting her troops. Afterward, she poses for snaps with a chorus line of clients, then dashes up to the private shopping suites for media interviews.

That’s where I am waiting, wondering which of my questions to toss, given that my interview time has been reduced to a scant five minutes. Meanwhile, carefree and cherubic Harper toddles around dressed in a grey crocheted trapeze dress and white patent-leather ankle-strap shoes with a bow. She is captivated by her distorted reflection in the rippled mirrored surface of a reception desk. She babbles and gurgles, then lurches over to the dusky mauve roses on the coffee table. When her mom walks in, both their faces light up. Harper waves and Beckham calls out, “Hey, little girl!” Harper scrambles onto her lap and we begin our chat. First, I ask where Harper got her beautiful dress. “This dress was actually a present from Selma Blair,” says Beckham. “She had a baby just before I had Harper.” As she is speaking, Harper squirms in her lap, nearly knocking over her mom’s Champagne flute, which I slide out of reach. Harper then lunges for the runway photos I have brought and mom darts to shield the glass edge of the coffee table in case Harper takes a tumble. Take away the private jet and the excited fans downstairs and what I see is a working mom determined to give her children as much time and attention as possible. Eventually, an assistant comes and leads Harper away. Beckham stretches across me to retrieve the Champagne and takes a sip. I have so been there, I feel like telling her….

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View looks from Victoria Beckham’s Fall 2012 collection »

Victoria Beckham
Photography by Peter Stigter

The last time we met, at Holt Renfrew in Toronto, you were introducing your denim line. I felt like you were trying to convince me how serious you were about designing, But you don’t need to convince anybody of anything anymore. It’s obvious you’re serious. And you’re good!
“I never set out to prove anything to anybody other than to myself and I love what I do. I love women. I want to empower women and make them feel good about themselves.”

How did you conceive your khaki dress with epaulets?
“I love that dress. I love the military feel that you see throughout the collection. This is a signature fabric for us. It really sucks you in and holds you in. I thought the elbow slits looked cool and meant that you could move your arms really well.”

And why did you do canvas on the hip?
“Something that’s very much a signature to me as a brand is structure. And right from the start I’ve used a lot of corsetry. There’s no corsetry in this dress but the canvas has a similar effect. It holds you in and it feels quite firm but it still allows you to move.”

Well, we all like things that hold us in, that’s for sure. Tell me about the coat in this runway photo—is it some sort of bonded fabric?
“No, this is just a wool and then it has the exotic, python, but we also had lizard in the collection. It’s a great winter coat with a very neat shoulder.”

And this wine-coloured one has a zipper detail around the neck. Is it functioning?
“Yup. This is the coat that we carried on from a previous season. People really liked the silhouette. It’s comfortable and the signature zip is something we’ve been known for right from the start.”

Why did you decide to do back zippers at the hemline of your dresses?
“I just liked it. I think that women feel sexy in it. Men find it sexy. It’s functional as well and it’s something people have really responded to.”

Is there one idea you’ve come up with that you are especially proud of?
“I love my signature dresses—the very fitted silhouette with the zip. It’s just very me. But I’m also very proud of my handbag line, which is doing phenomenally well. My bags are handmade in Italy using the best materials. For me, it’s about quality. It’s about luxury and giving people what I want to carry myself.”

Is that peacock blue clutch you’re carrying one of your bags?
“It is. We do lots of these clutches in lots of different fun, vibrant colours. I like to have fun. What I do is about having fun and showing a sense of humour. You can really see that in the Victoria line—the sense of humour and the girlie side to my wardrobe.”

Very much so. Why did you decide to go that route with that line?
“I just wanted to show the other side to my wardrobe—the other side to my personality.”

So you’re not a sex goddess 100 per cent of the time?
“Oh, my God, I didn’t know I was a sex goddess! [She bursts out laughing.] I’ve got four children, does that make me a sex goddess? Honestly, I feel so blessed to have my husband, to have my kids and to do a job that I love to do, and to turn up today and see so many women supporting me and looking so gorgeous and so glamorous. And I’m having a load of fun.