Why it's Victory for Victoria as Posh wows the fashion world
If further proof were needed that Brand Beckham is a force to be reckoned with, then last week's reaction to Victoria Beckham's latest collection was it.
Industry chiefs and fashion insiders who once would have rather gone naked than wear an outfit by the former Spice Girl were falling over themselves to stock her new pieces, finally realising that there's more to Posh than a penchant for fake tan and a love of vertiginous heels.
Delivering the ultimate seal of approval was the grande dame of high fashion, Anna Wintour, who has finally allowed the singer-turned- designer to grace the pages of the global fashion bible -- US Vogue. When the style guardian of the western world says "don't underestimate her" it's definitely time to sit up and take notice.
Vogue's editor-in-chief initially refused to acknowledge Vic, so Posh she went on a charm offensive, sending flowers and, more importantly, continuing to churn out impressive collections.
They say that it is persistence over education or talent that really pays dividends -- Victoria's success is testament to that.
The mum-of-three became part of the world's top girl band without having the best vocals -- and now she has fashion darlings falling at her feet.
But despite her fifth season, displayed in a sumptuous New York townhouse, being met with critical acclaim, her bright colours and fluid lines haven't won everyone over. There are still some sceptics that will wonder just how involved in the design process Posh actually is.
With so many big names branching into retail -- Kate Moss for Topshop; Lily Allen at New Look; Madonna's under-whelming H&M line -- tongues wag over how much is the celebrity's flair for fashion and how much is an exploitative marketing ploy.
For full-time designers who have slogged their way through years of training, it must stick in their gullet that someone like Victoria, Lindsay Lohan or Lily Allen with little or no formal training swoops in calling themselves a designer.
"It is frustrating," laughs Ava Cassidy, who along with business partner Kate Reilly, designs clothes for Dublin label Kate and Ava. "I went to design school and couldn't have done without it as I'm involved in the whole design process. I would doubt that Victoria Beckham is on the floor cutting out patterns, but she does come across as someone who is genuinely interested in the construction of clothes."
Since branching into fashion in 2004 with her limited range of jeans designed for Rock and Republic, through to her sunglasses range and first collection of dresses in 2008, Victoria has always asserted that the work is all her own.
For a dress in her most recent collection, Victoria told how she persevered with a sheet of purple parachute silk, draping it repeatedly round herself to perfect a knotted waist.
She was also able to sit front row, talking knowledgably about the inspiration, fabric and ethos behind each piece on the runway -- adding legitimacy to her claim that she's not merely the face of the range.
Ava agrees. "Plenty of celebrities think they'll bring out a clothing range only to find the work, effort and money is too much and they bow out after a year or two," she explains.
"For her longevity alone, I think Victoria deserves to be applauded."
Shelly Corkery, Fashion Director of Brown Thomas, who stock the DVB range, agrees. "Victoria knows what a woman wants to wear and with the dress being key this season, her dresses are perfectly proportioned, have the right fit and the choice in fabrics is fabulous," she says. "Victoria is a style icon that Irish women admire -- and her collections have performed well here."
And if Mrs Beckham has anything to do with it --that's exactly how it will continue.