The first week of digital fashion begins in London, offering an ideal opportunity to think about where British fashion is going – and how far it has come.
And as we look back at the country’s recent history of style, there is one couple that embodies Sartorian evolution: David and Victoria Beckham.
Today, the Victoria fashion brand is a credible feature of Fashion Week, and David is a Dapper-style icon, but that hasn’t always been the case. As one thing, who can forget when they went everywhere in clothes?
David and Victoria Beckham at the 2003 MTV Movie Awards in Los Angeles. Credit: Jon Kopaloff / FilmMagic / Getty Images
At the turn of the millennium, you couldn’t open a newspaper in Britain without seeing Posh and Becks ’coordinated colored approach to what we know today as #couplegoals.
At the screening of the cult film “Withnail and I” in 2001, they opted for a brown head-to-toe color, with David in a reckless jacket in a matrix-style jacket.
David and Victoria Beckham at the London screening of “Withnail & I” in 2001. Credit: Justin Goff / UK Press / Getty Images
But just a few weeks earlier, an even more iconic coordinated fashion moment followed.
It was the height of Beckham-mania when at the Paris Versace party in London, the superdrive came out in skin from head to toe. Victoria was about to start recording the Spice Girls ’third album, and David had just helped Manchester United claim the English and European Championships. Their first son, Brooklyn, has just been born, and the couple recently bought a cozy family palace that the media called “Beckingham Palace”.
“What were we thinking?” said David Beckham as he looked back at some of his outfits with his wife. (Justin Goff / UK Press / Getty Images) Credit: Justin Goff / UK Press / Getty Images
It is often overlooked that the clothes were savagely inappropriate for the seasons. It was finally mid-June (although British summers are often so mild that you can wear all your skin without so much sweat damage). Perhaps this explains why both David and Victoria decided to lower the zippers from the attached collars, leaving the tiniest flashes of skin peeking through what effectively become cleavage from the locks.
Yet for such a daring look, he was almost completely devoid of attitude. They looked like a pair of pleasant cyclists stopping at an English country pub for orange juice. Back then, blonde David – who finished the suit with a pair of flat-soled shoes – didn’t seem at all convinced by the idea to start.
That night a certain audacity appeared in his eyes, as if he knew that one day he would regret the decision. And indeed, he succeeded.
Victoria, however, is less willing to dismiss the past. “I never look back and I don’t resent anything,” Grazia told 2018.
But perhaps more importantly: the clothes did exactly what they were supposed to.
Britain’s obsession with Beckham’s fashion may have been partly fueled by tabloid swearing at the idea of nouveau enriching extravagance, but publicity served their purpose. Even the most reliable clothing has contributed to one of the most successful brand-building exercises in modern entertainment.
The Beckhams were photographed at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at Windsor Castle in 2018. Credit: Max Mumby / Indigo / Getty Images