LONDON – In the first of our second video series focusing on the working lives (and spaces) of designers, Victoria Beckham, whose fall collection was shown recently during New York Fashion Week, takes us inside her Battersea offices and talks minimalism, mess and what makes her an average mom. And that’s just what didn’t make it into the final cut. (This interview has been edited and condensed.)
Q: You moved back to London from Los Angeles just over a year ago. Has it made a difference for you?
A: You know, I think that London is such an inspiring place to be. I miss LA desperately. I loved living there, I really did. But the business has changed so much since I came home: the collections are bigger, there are more categories. We have three or four floors here, and two ateliers just over the other side of the courtyard, and more offices five minutes down the road – actually, where we put all the accounting people. It’s like a beehive. This was Simon Fuller’s office. He doesn’t live in the U.K. anymore, he lives in LA, so he said I could move in here. Simon (creator of the Spice Girls and “Pop Idol”) is one of the owners of my business, along with myself and David (her husband). And the great thing about David and Simon is they just let me do what I want. The office was a little more masculine when Simon was here, but I haven’t really done a lot with it. I just wanted to keep it neutral.
A: So it’s all about the clothes and the work that goes on in here. I like to have a blank slate. I don’t like to have a lot of junk around me. I like to be able to think straight. I’m naturally a very messy person. David is constantly complaining at home because I’m really, really messy. Here I have a really good assistant who keeps me tidy. She has all the paperwork. I have a laptop that I travel around with and iPads and iPhones and all that kind of stuff.
Q: Besides the mess, is your office like your home?
A: It’s very different. This room is really quite polished, even though outside is chaos, and my house is very English: shabby, Old English. Not too much chintz, ’cause chintz means dust, and I don’t like dust. But just beautiful and not modern at all.
Q: Is it like your clothes?
A: In that I don’t like anything too fussy.
Q: What is your working day like?
A: I get up at around 6 o’clock, do my workout, get the children dressed, give them their breakfast, and then either myself or David takes them to school. I’m normally in the office by 9 o’clock. I do spend most of the time here. I have my breakfast here, a cup of tea, and some fruit, and then I’m normally catching up with my assistant, or I’ve got to make a phone call to the headmaster of the school. When I’m starting work on the collection, I just sit with my team and talk to them about what I like, what I find inspiring, what I’m desiring, what I want to wear, what I haven’t done before. We have fit models we work with, and we’ll either work the fit model or we’ll drape on a stand. I can draw, but badly. I think that’s OK. No one’s expecting me to do it the normal way. And that’s a good thing. But I do sometimes take all my clothes off and drape on myself. It’s just a bit more pleasant for everybody if we do it on models.
Q: You try on the clothes?
A: I try on everything. I think it’s important to see how things feel. If I haven’t tried them on before the show, I try them on afterwards. It’s very important because we have to change the way things fit. They’ve been on very tall models in New York. I’m quite an average height: 5 foot 4. So I like to put things on and have a lot of input with regard to the production side of things.
Q: What do you wear to work?
A: I’m always in flats. Jeans, jumper, flat shoes or a pair of trainers. It would probably surprise people, but I have to be comfortable. It’s not about me dressing up and looking good. I’ve got to get stuff done. That’s the bottom line. There’s never any time where I’m just me anymore. I don’t know what that feels like. That’s because I have a job, and I have so many kids.
Q: Do your kids ever come to visit you at the office?
A: They like to come and hang out, normally around lunchtime because they know they’re going to get some Japanese.
Q: Do you think any of them will follow in your footsteps?
A: I don’t know. At the moment, if you ask any of the boys what they want to do, they want to play football. But they’re very artistic, very creative. Brooklyn is great at photography, as well. He’s got a very good eye. So we’ll see. As long as they’re happy. I know that’s what every parent says, but you just want your kids to be happy, don’t you?