Victoria Beckham reveals what she’s got in store for Hong Kong customers
Celebrity fashion designer ‘very excited’ to be back in city to open first shop outside her home market, and explains she’s had a hand in every decision, from ‘what the changing rooms look like, to what fragrance we use in store, to what the receipts look like’
“I’m always struck by how aware Chinese women are when it comes to fashion,” says designer, celebrity and global powerhouse Victoria Beckham. “Their knowledge of trends and brands is so deep, that being here you feel like you’re really part of a fashion conversation.”
As one of the world’s most photographed women, Beckham is probably used to causing a stir wherever she goes. There’s the red carpet events, the openings, the screaming fans and relentless paparazzi. She certainly made headlines last year during a visit to Hong Kong when she broke the news to the South China Morning Post that she was scouting spaces in the city for her second ever store.
A year on, Beckham is back, and there’s been a buzz all week about her arrival to open the store at Landmark in Central on Friday. On Saturday, she’s attending the Hong Kong AmFar Aids fundraiser; as a UN goodwill ambassador she’ll be supporting a cause that’s been important to her for years.
“I am feeling very excited,” she says of the launch. “The process wasn’t easy … opening a store is a huge project. Together with my team, I’ve worked really hard to get to this point.”
Beckham rightly feels that she’s reached a bit of a milestone with this boutique, her first outside Britain. It’s been almost nine years since she launched a high-fashion line to many raised eyebrows, but Beckham, now with two British Fashion Awards under her belt, has impressed both staunch fans and those initial naysayers with her razor-sharp clarity of vision and astute business acumen.
Far from being just a famous face banking on the power of “Brand Beckham”, she prides herself on being hands-on with all aspects of the label, even when it comes to time-consuming logistics. As a result Beckham has earned the respect of industry insiders and working women who see a bit of themselves in her, albeit without the famous family and billionaire status (well, fashion, as they say, is often about fantasy).
“It’s important to me that I’m part of the decision making in all areas, whether that’s deciding what the changing rooms look like, to what fragrance we use in store, to what the receipts look like. I enjoy all of that, and I’m a perfectionist. I believe it’s all in the details.”
The Hong Kong store is much smaller than the brand’s mothership, a three-floor shop in Dover Street, London, but it’s also all polished, clean lines and elongated elegance, with clean lines, like much of her clothing. Having worked with the same architect, Farshid Moussavi, on both stores, Beckham says she is “thrilled” to give her Asian customers a taste of the experience they’d get at her London space.
“Every time I’ve visited over the past few years, I’ve taken time to meet with my clients [here], to really get a sense of what excites them and what they want,” she says.
Asia is still Beckham’s fastest-growing market; clients here relate well to her sophisticated, slimline silhouettes and like how her structured pieces add power to a smaller frame. By partnering with local retailer Joyce (who’ve stocked the label since 2008), the brand has tapped into a wealth of knowledge about how Asian consumers think.
“I know Asian women really understand luxury, good quality and appreciate when garments are made well – and my clothes are,” Beckham says.
Here’s a woman who knows that celebrity pull only goes so far with high-fashion customers who are spoilt for choice in Hong Kong. She puts pressure on herself to offer something creative that “remains relevant and desirable” to warrant their continuing support. So what exactly is in store for the women of Hong Kong?
A selection of outfits from her spring-summer 2016 Victoria Beckham main line hangs in the store, alongside shelves of her sunglasses range and elegant bag collection – including the graceful half-moon bag seen on the catwalk in New York. Cool, checked prints represent an easy, sporty chic for spring, and we adore the tailoring, which mean pieces hug in at the waist and flare out flatteringly at the hips, are worn with culottes or to elongate down to pretty hemlines hitting mid-shin. Bolts of brilliant blue, sunset tangerine and zesty mustard turn up the heat for summer, and there’s an edit of floor-length evening dresses, which she’s hoping will appeal to her Chinese clients.
“I think what I love most about my SS16 collection are the prints,” Beckham says. “It was such a fun collection to design … and definitely a more relaxed silhouette, which is nice for summer. I’m so interested to see which pieces my clients will gravitate towards.”
Beckham dresses a woman who knows herself well, whose wardrobe is not hijacked by fleeting seasonal trends, or superfluous bells and whistles. Despite not being a trained designer, she has hit on a winning formula – creating coveted, luxurious, modern clothes for women like herself; she is essentially revisiting what she knows best, but each season pushing into more experimental and progressive territory as she gains confidence. And yes, as avid Beckham watchers will have picked up, she admits her own aesthetic has changed in the past few years.
Beckham, now 41, says: “I think my style is definitely more relaxed than it used to be.”
Although she’s committed to keeping the signature silhouette – one which “retains that fitted shape but also carries the fashion message of the season” – in a core collection of dresses, you can see that change reflected in her designs.
“Silhouettes have loosened up, and fabrics have softened. It’s a lot to do with growing in confidence as the brand has grown,” she says.