From Wannabe to style icon, we chart the style journey of Victoria Beckham, the WAG-that-did-good on her 40th birthday…
Victoria Beckham has the most interesting trajectory of any modern celebrity, I think. She doesn’t have a sex tape floating around, she married young and has remained so, and despite some brief appearances in television documentaries she hasn’t a reality tv show that plagues Saturday afternoon television schedules and keeps the dollah rolling in. Instead she’s one of most hard-working businesswomen in fashion and throws her whole self and years of mannequin experience into her phenomenally successful brand.
Born Victoria Adams on this day in 1974, she grew up in Hertfordshire, England and decided early on the showbiz life was for her after watching 1980s leotard classic Fame. In her teens she scored some modeling jobs and attended stage school in the early nineties. Her first attempt at musical success was actually in a band called Persuasion, but it was her audition in 1993 for The Spice Girls that changed everything. In 1996 their debut single Wannabe exploded onto the charts, reached number one in over thirty countries and a music industry sensation was born. Victoria earned the moniker Posh Spice and her LBD uniform became ubiquitous and the laziest still-looking-well-Hallowe’en costume to date. The band spilt in 2000 after the release of their third album and it was around this time, free from the clutches of band management that Victoria embrdace her inner fashionista. That year she made her London Fashion Week debut in Maria Grachvogel’s Autumn/Winter 2000 show.
In 1998 her footballer boyfriend David Beckham proposed, she chopped her hair and started a veritable trend that many regret following to this day. In 1999 she gave birth to their first child, Brooklyn. Posh and Becks, as the tabloids referred to them, married that July in Ireland and sold the memorable photographs to OK! Magazine.
2000 saw her launch her short-lived solo career with the Dane Bowers single, ‘Out of Your Mind’. Victoria ultimately decided that a stadium career was not on the cards for her. This was a lesson all the Spice Girls eventually learned.
In the mid-noughties Victoria and her extensions enjoyed a degree of notoriety as WAG culture saturated the media – can you imagine the Sidebar of Shame if this was Germany 2006 again? Her time in Spain as David played for Real Madrid was characterized by hot pants and a lot of breasts.
In 2007 she presented the world with a new haircut, the ‘Pob’, and yet again a thousand bad hair decisions were born. This very same year she became a published author with her style guide, That Extra Half An Inch. She then went peroxide blonde, as did most in the dying days of global excess, and decided to appoint herself the unofficial ambassador of the bandage dress. Her outfit to that year’s GLAMOUR Awards awards consisted of a Roberto Cavalli corset and a white bolero. This garnered a lot of criticism from style watchers. Looking back this was all very proto-Miley. This makeover coincided with her move to LA, as David took up a high-profile position with the Galaxy soccer team. Victoria celebrated the move by making celebrity pals with Eva Longoria and the then-Cruises and starring in a television documentary that saw her struggling to find a suitable home and eternity pool. (Victoria Beckahm: Coming To America is on Youtube – thank me later.) Already an eventful year, Victoria decided to launch a fragrance with her husband, Intimately Beckham, and a well-received jeans line with Rock & Republic. She also discovered her fondness for Roland Mouret’s dresses and things look set to change in Victoria’s life and wardrobe.
The Spice Girls had a short reunion tour on late 2007 and while Victoria rarely seemed enthusiastic in press calls the reported 10 million she netted must have been nice. Years later their appearance in the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics was the most tweeted moment and proved the brit-pop band still have lasting currency.
In 2008 she launched her eponymous label to immediate acclaim and ever since has been held in firm regard for her attention to shape and tailoring. That April she covered UK Vogue and won the Designer Brand of the Year at the 2011 British Fashion Awards, cementing her reputation in the industry. Last year BBC’s Woman’s Hour named her one of 100 most powerful women in the United Kingdom.
A mother of four, Victoria is set to celebrate her milestone birthday and decade of career success at a small dinner in LA with friends and family.
Jeanne Sutton @jeannedesutun