London’s first digital fashion week kicks off today, offering an ideal opportunity to reflect on where British fashion is going – and how far it has come.
And as we look back at the country’s recent history, there is a couple embodying costume development: David and Victoria Beckham.
Today, Victoria’s Fashion label is a reliable way of lighting week, and David is a stylish icon style, but it was not always so. First, who can forget when they went everywhere with matching clothes?
David and Victoria Beckham at the 2003 MTV Movie Awards in Los Angeles. Credit: Jon Kopaloff / FilmMagic / Getty Images
Around the turn of the millennium, a British newspaper could open without Posh and Becks’ coordinated approach to what we now know as #couplegoals.
At a screening of the cult movie “Withnail and I” in 2001, they chose coffee from head to toe, with David wearing a Matrix-style bad coat.
David and Victoria Beckham at the “Withnail & I” show in London in 2001. Credit: Justin Goff / UK Press / Getty Images
But a few weeks earlier, there was an even more virtual fashion moment.
It was the height of Beckham’s rage when the supercouple came out of the head-to-toe leather at a Versace party in London. Victoria was set to start recording a third album, Spice Girls, and David had just helped Manchester United claim English and European championships. Their first son, Brooklyn, was recently born and the couple recently bought a comfortable family mansion called “Beckingham Palace” from the media.
“What were we thinking?” said David Beckham as he looked back at some of the clothes that fit his wife. (Justin Goff / United Kingdom Press / Getty Images) Credit: Justin Goff / UK Press / Getty Images
It is often overlooked that the clothes were extremely unsuitable for the season. It was, in the end, mid-June (although British summers are often so mild that you can wear the whole skin without as much as sweat). This may explain why both David and Victoria chose to lower the zippers from their fastened collars, leaving the smallest glows of the skin peeking out of what became effectively necklaces.
However, for such a bold look, it was almost completely invalid. They looked like a pair of friendly cyclists stopping at an English village pub for orange juice. Then David’s hair braids – who finished the outfit with a pair of toed loafers – don’t even seem convinced by the idea to start with.
There was a certain feeling in his eyes that night, as if he knew that one day he would come to regret the decision. And indeed, he did.
Victoria, however, was less willing to reject the past. “We never look back and gather for nothing,” Grazia said in 2018.
But perhaps most importantly: The addictions did exactly what they should.
The UK’s obsession with Beckham’s fashion may have been fueled in part by tabloids mocking the idea of rich luxury, but publicity served their purpose. Even the most questionable clothes contributed to one of the most successful brand-building exercises of modern entertainment.
Beckham is pictured at the wedding of Prince Harry and Megan Markle at Windsor Castle in 2018. Credit: Max Mumby / Indigo / Getty Images