Stylist gets a guided tour of Victoria Beckham’s new London store from the fashion icon herself and hears how she's saved the suede mini-dress from her first date with husband David to give to her daughter Harper
It’s not every day you’re granted a personal audience with Victoria Beckham. But there she is, behind the rather nifty floor-to-ceiling automatic sliding door of her brand-new flagship store, standing rather unassumingly next to the long retractable shelves neatly laid out with handbags. Wearing a pair of skinny jeans tucked into platform ankle boots and one of her own designs – a cream top with striking geometric print on one side – and a black silk jacket worn over her shoulders (‘robed’ as fashion people tend to do), she’s a very welcoming tour guide. “Do you want a drink? Are you sure?” she asks, her Hertfordshire twang still quite clear despite the five and a half years she spent living in LA.
The opening of Beckham’s first store, in London’s Mayfair, is one of this year’s defining fashion moments. Closely monitored by industry and tabloid press alike, the store has been meticulously overseen by Victoria and features the six-year-old label’s ready-to-wear collection, the diffusion line Victoria Victoria Beckham (VVB), handbags, eyewear, denim and, as of next year, shoes. Exclusive to the store is a new range of small leather goods including a wallet and credit-card holder (we quite fancy taking the leather-bound journal into our next meeting). It’s no wonder she needs three floors to fit it all in. This isn’t just a shop, it’s home to a growing fashion empire (which took £30million in sales last year).
Victoria at her new store on Dover Street
The store itself is breathtaking. It’s a huge modern space, but doesn’t feel cold or too exclusive. “I want the store to feel conceptual but I want people to feel welcome,” Victoria confides. “Everybody is welcome whether they’re coming to shop or just to have a look round.”
Designed with Iranian architect Farshid Moussavi, it’s the details which make the store such an enjoyable place to be: a fourmetre wide polished concrete staircase runs the entire height of the building while a video of the a/w show is projected on a whitewashed wall. There are five fitting rooms made of bottle-green glass – one of which Victoria is using as a makeshift office. “I should clean this up because I keep showing it to people,” she says before putting on a jokey ‘mum’ voice: “I haven’t even pushed the Hoover around!”
Surrounded by her designs draped from walnut and gold hangers, it’s obvious she’s in her element. “I’ve genuinely enjoyed this experience,” she tells Stylist about the store construction. “The hardest part was walking in when it was a building site and trying to visualise it. We ripped everything out. I wanted a very clean, minimal space. Yesterday was really exciting, my kids came to see it after school. Brooklyn looked at me and said, ‘This is the coolest shop ever.’”
Victoria Beckham's Instagram post about her first date dress back in June
While Victoria shows Stylist around, pointing out the walnut ‘cash and wrap’ counter (there are no tills, people will pay on iPads brought to them by the staff), a man bounds up the stairs wearing a peach cable knit jumper, scruffy blue jeans and tweed flat cap. I notice a familiar tattoo on his neck. It’s David Beckham. He taps the PR on her shoulder to shout bye and he’s off. Despite the fact the store opens in just nine days, the atmosphere here is very normal.
After the tour, we sit down to talk more about fashion. While she recently auctioned off a large amount of her clothes for African charity Mothers2Mothers, was there anything she couldn’t get rid of? “I kept my wedding dress,” she admits. Nothing for [daughter] Harper? She pauses. “I couldn’t give away the dress I first wore when I went out with David. It was a little high-street suede minidress, so I’ve kept that for her.”
With four children to look after, Victoria admits things have been a bit hectic lately. “It’s pretty full on when I get home, getting the kids’ tea, bathing them, doing homework.” We wonder how on earth she copes, but she’s utterly sanguine: “It’s a lot to do but I surround myself with the right people and just get on with it. I feel very lucky.” We don’t blame her.
Victoria Beckham with daughter Harper in May 2013
How well does VB know her shop?
The fashion icon takes our quick-fire test
“Ooh! Oh dear, I don’t know. Maybe we have to take legal stuff into consideration?!” [It's Monday-Saturday 11am-5pm, Sunday 12-5pm].
What's the staff uniform?
“Trousers with flat shoes. I want everyone to feel comfortable running up and down the stairs.”
How many items are allowed in the changing rooms?
“A lot. And there's a personal shopping area downstairs - the dressing room is huge.”
What are the wrapping instructions?
“You wouldn't believe the amount of time we have taken perfecting this - the paper, the gift vouchers, the ribbons, the swing tags. I could talk about ribbon for 20 minutes.”
Victoria Beckham’s store is now open at 36 Dover Street, London W1S