Claire O'Mahony: Why we've changed our minds about Victoria Beckham
If, back in the Nineties, you’d told us that one day we would lust after clothes designed by a Spice Girl, we would have been very confused. If you told us that we would admire and even respect a Spice Girl as a mother and businesswoman we would have said, ‘What the hell?’
But times have changed, so have we and so too has Victoria Beckham – or more accurately, public perception of her has been altered.
The recently released pictures from a photoshoot for Elle Magazine, where she poses alongside Karl Lagerfeld in knickers, tight black sweater and ankle boots – but in a stylish, not tacky way – is the zenith of her triumph.
In her Spice Girl days, Victoria never came across as the most likeable of the five girls. She danced woodenly, admitted she couldn’t sing and appeared petulant and sulky. Even her moniker ‘Posh’ was unfriendly. She possessed an inability to smile, something that remains to this day, but now we are not so quick to judge.
There were the WAG years, a boob job she refused to admit for yonks and a pretty poor solo musical career – when you’re hoisting your star to Dane Bowers’ wagon, it’s fair to guess that you’re not going to win the Mercury Music Prize.
And she was regularly accused of being a poster girl for eating disorders, with the implication that she had one herself.
We’re used to celebrities reinventing themselves, but to get the full measure of how far Victoria has come is to compare her how she looks now, as opposed to her appearance at the World Cup in Baden Baden in 2006. Back then it was white hotpants, a full head of extensions and boobs out as she joined a gag of other wags. Now it’s demure dresses, circles under her eyes and baby Harper as her primary accessory.
There is a great story – unconfirmed – about designer Tom Ford flying into a rage when he saw a picture of Victoria wearing one of his Gucci creations and wondering which of his staff had given her the dress, only to be told that she had purchased it herself.
Now, ironically, Victoria is hailed as one of the most fashionable women on the planet and her own designs are worn by everyone from Blake Lively to Drew Barrymore. Women love Victoria Beckham clothes because they are incredibly flattering and, having shaken off rumours that Roland Mouret was the main creative force behind the label, each season sees her going from strength.
She’s clearly hands on with her business and dedicated to her work but she has not let that get in the way of a rich family life.
Her and David – having recovered from the Rebecca Loos blip – seem incredibly in love. She spends a lot of time with her three sons, Brooklyn, Romeo and Cruz and clearly adores 15-month-old daughter Harper.
It’s all very impressive.
Anti Victoria sentiment still rears its head from time to time. People seem fixated on her diet and there were grumbles that she refused to party with the other Spice Girls after they performed at the Closing Ceremony of the London Olympics.
In response to that you could say two things. Firstly, if as rumoured, she is pregnant with her fifth child, of course she didn’t want to party. And secondly, even if she isn’t, who would blame her for not wanting to go out on the razz with Mel B, Geri, Emma and Mel C?