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Elegant, polished and stylish -- Posh does Nerdy Chic

HOLD the front page -- at least chuck out the St Tropez. Victoria Beckham has officially given up fake tanning.

She has already been sighted in -- wait for it -- flat shoes. Next target: big hair.

"It's going. I'm getting it cut tomorrow. My style's much more relaxed nowadays," she announced, sporting a chic, slash-necked short dress from her new collection. And six-inch platforms.

As her latest designs were unveiled in New York, it became clear that this was another lovely, polished, wearable turn from a woman who is daintily trampling on every preconception we all had about her.

The collection boasted more elegant dresses, in inky greys, emerald and oxblood, with boat or draped necks, some with draped backs and a new volume in the bodice that gave them a slightly more chilled feel -- and a blush-pink, lame trench dress inspired by Dick Tracy femmes fatales.

Some models wore round, exaggerated 1930s-style sunglasses (VB's brand, of course), to lend them what Beckham calls a Nerdy Chic.

"I'm very into that vibe myself at the moment," she says.

Beckham is more famous than any other woman designing today. And more than any other female designer, she's selling her personal style. This enables her to build a valuable dialogue of trust with her growing legion of customers.

She has already chosen which dress she will be wearing to the Oscars from this collection -- a cappuccino-coloured draped silk "Martha Graham" dress.

When she talks about crinolines being hand-stitched into skirts to give them weight and "a bounce when you walk", or juxtaposing chiffons and wools to "create tension", or about a three-thread fabric that enabled her to achieve a new sense of volume in her clothes, two things occur:

1. She's done her homework.

2. These clothes are not being churned out to make a quick buck -- they're extremely work intensive.

Shoulder pads went into that trench dress. Then they came out. Finally, Beckham and her team settled on a raglan sleeve solution.

Another dress, dubbed "the cloud", a strapless, nude-coloured dress in silk gazar, with a draped puff hem and a print developed from the text of Dick Tracy comic books, took days to perfect and quite a few sleepless nights.

"It's full on," she says. She's travelling back and forth between LA and London where the clothes are still made. Milan would be easier, geographically, for her work. "But I'm definitely not moving," she says. "The children are settled in LA."

Perhaps the circa 19th-century Upper East Side mansion, which stood in for Carrie's dream penthouse in the movie Sex And The City and which she rented to show the collection, might tempt her to transfer slightly farther east. She's already inquired whether it's for sale. It is -- at $30m (f22m).

David sent her flowers for Valentine's Day. She, meanwhile, had left him notes all round the house. He owes her.