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Victoria Beckham on her tried and tested fashion formula, her recipe for success and what she does in her spare time

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What's the one question you think David Beckham would ask designer, ex-Spice Girl and wife Victoria Beckham if he got her in the interview chair?

That's one of the things we found out as she spoke to the esteemed fashion critic Suzy Menkes about her successful career, fashion choices and life with her family at London's Victoria & Albert Museum this week. 

During the talk, the 41-year-old shared her tried and tested formula for "flattering" fashion, the conversation with Anna Wintour that sparked her role as Global Goodwill Ambassador for United Nations UNAIDS and why her children will have their own jobs.

Meanwhile, David watched in the audience and kicked off the Q&A session at the end. 

We pull out the best soundbites from the night below.

On how her own experiences influence her fashion designs
“I am designing clothes that I want to wear, but I am also designing clothes that I would imagine myself wearing. I am not as young as I was and I am not always going to be able to wear all the clothes that I design...Ultimately, I suppose I have an image of myself. That is the person I am designing for – a woman who loves and appreciates fashion and luxury, and somebody who wants to feel empowered with the best version of themselves...When I am working on the accessories, for example, I think if I am creating a bag that a woman is going to use every day. How much of the kids’ rubbish can I fit in!”

On her 90s style choices
“I wore a lot of PVC in those days, a lot of push-up tops and PVC catsuits, and lots of high heels and short skirts – but I don’t cringe too much about that. Everything was good at the time, and it is made me who I am now. I wouldn’t wear those things now necessarily. Because they were awful!… That is to start with!””

On her tried and tested fashion formula
“I created a signature look very early on, when I first started working in fashion. It was a fitted dress that really pulled you in and pushed you up in the right area, with a sexy zip down the back. For a lot of designers, it takes a long time for them to create a signature look but I created that very early on because it was a look that people really associated with me.

“I still think those dresses are perfect for date night – they are fitted, sexy, and they make you feel confident. They are flattering, and give you a little wiggle because they are very tight, and when you mix it with a sexy high heel, I think that is the type of dressing that men like. David is out there somewhere so he will tell me, but I think he does like it when I dress in that way – well, he tells me he does.”
 

#fashionsaveslives! Im donating Harper's clothes to @savechildrenuk Visit @MarysLGShop_NW1 today & shop to support x vb

A photo posted by Victoria Beckham (@victoriabeckham) on

On how she got by without studying fashion

“I learnt as a designer working for other brands before I was ever positioned to be able to bring things in-house. So I was working designing sunglasses with Linda Farrow,  and producing denim capsule collections with Rock & Republic, so I learnt an enormous amount for a few years before I was in a position to bring anything in-house.

“When people ask if I have any advice for young designers, the best advice I could ever give to somebody is to work for someone else, when you are playing with someone else’s money. It is very expensive when you start doing it on your own. I learnt so much from the professionals that I was surrounding myself with, and I continue to learn a lot, I have never pretended to know everything, I have a great team of people I work very closely with, and I continue to learn.

“I would love to go back and go to fashion school, I would love to, but with the business the size that it is now, and of course having four children that would just be impossible. I kind of did it the other way around. I think it is quite cool to do that, to think outside of the box and do it a different way.”

On her secret to social media stardom
“Across all platforms we have a reach of over 30 million people now, which is huge...the way that I interact with my customers and fans on social is about being very true to myself. I am not trying to be anybody else, I am being very honest.”

Please help me support @mothers2mothers and join in my charity clothing auction on August 20th x vb #VBxTHEOUTNET

A photo posted by Victoria Beckham (@victoriabeckham) on

On the conversation with Anna Wintour that sparked her charity work in Africa
“I was actually having breakfast with Anna Wintour in her office, I was telling her I was going to be 40, and she was pretending to be really surprised, and I was saying how I really wanted to do something and get involved with a charity, and at the time we were actually working together on a project called Born Free, and she said to me, ‘Well my team are going to Africa next week, why don’t you go, too?’

“And so I jumped at the chance, I went to Africa, and whilst I was there I met with a few other organisations, and I started working with the United Nations UNAIDS, and after working with them for some time, they invited me to be a Global Goodwill Ambassador, which was a huge honour and something I really enjoy. I am educating myself, and going on various field trips, and just trying to figure out what I can do to make a difference.

“Through all of this I have to say David has been a huge inspiration because he does an enormous amount for charity – he had done an enormous amount for a long, long time, he really inspires and guides me, and helps me decide what I should be doing, and so I have him to thank as well.”

On the Victoria Beckham we don't know
Speaking about her love of museums and not being able to visit enough, Victoria said, “I would love to but I have 100 children so I can’t. I recently went to the V&A, obviously going to see Savage Beauty which was incredible, and Brooklyn has been studying for his GCSEs in art and photography, so I brought him here and we came to the Horst and Constable exhibitions, and I visited the Spray exhibition the other day. So I do love going to museums and galleries, but I don’t get to do that as much as I would like because I am either working in the studio or I am at home with the kids.

But the children do enjoy it as well. I took all of them to the Tracey Emin exhibition not too long ago, which they loved, for about 10 minutes, then they wanted to go jump on their skateboards. But David and I do love to take the children to see exhibitions.”

On her recipe for success
“Work for other people, and just learn, and not to pretend to know everything, and surround yourself with the right people. It is absolutely key to have good people around you. When I first started I didn’t do big shows, I did small presentations, and you know, Suzy, you were there. And for anybody that doesn’t know, I started in a small hotel suite in New York with two models that were putting on the dresses, and sometimes I had a room full of people, and sometimes there would just be one person in the room.”

It's amazing what u can do in a jumpsuit! Excited in be in Singapore!!! #fighthefeizz x vb

A photo posted by Victoria Beckham (@victoriabeckham) on

David Beckham's question for Victoria
David, who sat in the audience, launched the Q&A session which followed Menkes' conversation and asked the star if she would like their three-year-old daughter, Harper Seven, to follow in her footsteps.

"Hi, I’m David," he said. "My question would be – this is not scripted, by the way – you have been very successful as an artist, you have sold over 75 million albums and your brand, our brand, is unbelievably successful, which you have worked very hard at. If your daughter, our daughter, wanted to go into either of those businesses how would you feel about it and what would you prefer she went into?"

Victoria replied:

“That is a good question – no one has actually asked me that. I don’t know. I would love one of my children – our children, we keep doing that – to go into the fashion industry because I think it is a great industry to be in with lots of great people, whether that is going to be Harper or one of the boys I don’t know. Harper loves putting on my high heels and playing with my make-up, but she also has football boots and she runs around in the garden with her brothers so I am not so sure whether she will follow what you do or what I do.

But I think what everyone wants for their kids is just for them to be happy, whatever that means they do. I would rather her go into fashion than be in a pop group I have to say, but I did have fun doing that.

Brooklyn is an incredible photographer, he is really talented, he has a really great eye. As well as being great at football he’s very good at photography and art so I would imagine that he would do something creative. But what a lot of people don’t know about David is how creative he is, he is a great photographer, he is a great at art, and he has a great business sense, too.

So who knows what the kids are going to do but as long as they are happy. We will see. They will definitely work though. They won’t be these children that stay at home and don’t do anything. They will definitely work.”

Thank u @suzymenkesvogue, @vamuseum and everyone who came to our talk tonight! x vb

A photo posted by Victoria Beckham (@victoriabeckham) on

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