WHAT'S VICTORIA BECKHAM'S PROBLEM?
Victoria Beckham looking distant at the premiere
Thursday December 13,2012
By Simon Edge
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BY their tweets shall ye know them. It’s not always true because some celebrities have staff to write their Twitter offerings for them. But in Victoria Beckham’s case the solitary message she posted after the Spice Girls’ musical Viva Forever! on Tuesday night spoke volumes.
There was no comment on the show or congratulations to the cast, which is odd considering she is an investor and the musical is based on songs by her own former band.
Instead she wrote the non-committal: “Great time with my girls tonight! Thank you Simon Fuller, we couldn’t have done this without you!!!” And attached to the message was a picture of herself standing between Fuller, the Spice Girls manager who now hosts Victoria’s fashion studio at his London HQ, and her brother Christian. So much for “her girls”.
To those of us who were at the opening night her seeming lack of regard for her former girl-band colleagues was even clearer. While Geri Halliwell, Melanie Brown, Melanie Chisholm and Emma Bunton entered in a quartet after everyone else had sat down, away from their own families, the start of the show was further delayed as we waited for the Beckham party: Victoria, husband David, sons Brooklyn, Romeo and Cruz, plus extended family, personal assistants and nannies – to make a far grander entrance. It was like watching the Duke and Duchess of Kent arrive as a prelude to the Queen.
The official excuse for this two-tier entry was that the Beckhams had been caught in traffic – the same traffic that all of the rest of them had managed to negotiate – but that still doesn’t address the greater snub. While Geri, Scary, Sporty and Baby got ready together at a nearby hotel and then arrived in a posse for the fans outside the theatre, the former Posh Spice made separate plans.
And if she had really wanted to make amends for her lateness, she could have accompanied her former bandmates to the after-show party and let her husband and nannies put the kids to bed. As it was the Beckhams scarpered after the curtain call.
Holding herself aloof has become Victoria’s trademark. At the press launch for Viva Forever! in the summer she was the last to arrive and the first to leave (by helicopter, naturally). She deigned to pose for photographs but while the other Spices lined up at the foot of a staircase and smiled, with writer Jennifer Saunders and producer Judy Craymer beaming over their shoulders, Beckham adopted the sulky pout she has made her own, standing so far to the side that she could have been in a separate photo.
It’s the same sour face she pulls in pictures with her kids, making you wonder what life is like behind closed doors at the various Beckham mansions – in basic PR terms it looks appalling.
Having netted one of Britain’s richest, most popular and best-looking men she now lives life on a different plane to her ex-bandmates – and her body language shouts that she knows it.
She seems to be saying she is too good for them and all the evidence is that they don’t like her for it any more than the public does. They may not say so aloud but you can be sure they didn’t appreciate this week’s snub.
But like Catherine Tate’s bratty schoolgirl Lauren, Mrs Beckham is unbovvered by what the likes of you and me think of her. She has bigger fish to fry in the form of a fashion career that has surprised everyone with its commercial and critical success.
“Beckham’s way of being a fashion designer is certainly not in the grand romantic tradition of a tortured artist,” wrote one of Britain’s top fashion editors, having spent months shadowing her.
“She is not an artist expressing herself in fabric. But as to the authorship of the clothes, there doesn’t seem to me much doubt. Her style and taste is the life force in the room.”
Asked whether it was more fun being a pop star or fashion designer, Victoria replied: “Definitely fashion. Isn’t that obvious? I enjoy what I’m doing now so much more. Being in The Spice Girls was fantastic but I was never going to be the best singer and it wasn’t my passion. Getting my British Fashion Award [in 2011] felt different from any other time I’d been on stage. It meant so much.”
Her style and taste is the life force in the room
A fashion editor
With VB dresses costing up to £3,000 and a crocodile shoulder bag retailing at £8,950 she is aiming at the top end of the market where exclusivity is a more valuable commodity than cheesy popularity. This is a world where there’s something wrong with you if you don’t glower and wear sunglasses indoors.
If Victoria has decided she will undermine her high-end fashion credibility by singing girl-power pop and chumming up with ex-colleagues who are now judges on the Australian X Factor (Mel B) or DJs on Heart FM (Bunton), she may not be wrong. The fashion editor who shadowed her also said that of all the celebrities she has encountered Victoria Beckham is the one who in real life is least like her public image, noting that once away from cameras she is smart, warm and smiley.
A little of this was in evidence at the Piccadilly Theatre the other night. As the Beckhams made their regal entrance, Victoria duly glowered at the head of her retinue. Behind her came her beaming husband with his neatly turned out sons – and they really did look like his sons not hers because her entire demeanour made her stick out like a sore thumb from the rest of her handsome, genial family.
When they sat down, however, everything changed. A friend sitting just behind them tells me: “She and David exchanged what looked like affectionate words regularly throughout the show. She was even smiling. It was very different from the portrait of a warring couple we usually get.”
Now that her husband has played his last game for his football team LA Galaxy in Los Angeles, Victoria has been looking for a London home for the family – they also have daughter Harper – to add to houses in California, France and Hertfordshire. She has also made repeat visits to a West London private school with a view to sending Brooklyn and Romeo there.
If they do settle in London we will no doubt see more of her at glitzy events. My guess is she will be smiling on camera as seldom as ever and we will rarely see her on girls’ nights out with Geri, Emma and the Mels. But that won’t stop her star rising in the fashion world. On the contrary it will help its steady ascent.
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