She’s been a designer nine years now, two years longer than she was a Spice Girl. Certainly it’s difficult to reconcile the elegant woman standing before us in Brown Thomas, Dublin, with the Victoria Beckham of the 1990s, all dyed blonde hair, PVC catsuits, tight corsets — clothes worn, she has said, to mask her lack of confidence.
Today she is stylish and demure in an on-trend red, back-exposing, ruffled dress from her own A/W collection. She has all the signs of a woman who has found her comfort zone. And fashion truly is her calling.
Her own critically acclaimed label was launched in 2008. Later, the more affordable Victoria Victoria Beckham line was rolled out, followed by a high street collaboration with Target earlier this year.
In 2016 she made her make-up debut with a line for Estée Lauder. Beauty editors might have been initially cynical (another day, another celebrity collaboration), but on release it was a critical and commercial hit.
The make-up lines were divided into four cities, with looks inspired by each destination: London, Paris, New York and LA. The hype was really centred though on one creation: Morning Aura Illuminating Creme, the moisturising primer (created to give skin a glow after an 11 hour flight).
And now she’s back, with a second collection for Estée Lauder. Ten ‘hero’ products have been reintroduced, with 18 new pieces.
“I love make-up like I love fashion,” she says, speaking at her Dublin launch. And she really does love fashion: Today she’s styled the red dress from her A/W collection with to-die-for 1970s inspired leather heeled boots. There is no jewellery, save for a glistening diamond engagement ring.
She is tanned, but naturally so. Her glossy hair is pinned back, her make-up, with its trademark smoky eye and feline inspired eyeliner, is impeccable. She’s absolutely perfect, but yet approachable too. And the trademark photographed pout? In person, she doesn’t stop smiling.
She’s remarkably different to her serious, public persona. Playful with the public, she grabs every opportunity to connect with fans who gather on the second floor to see her arrive. In the two minutes she poses for photos, she persistently waves between shots, adding a smiling “hi”, before resuming her trademark hand on hip, tilted head pose. She had been tweeting all morning, building the hype.
The first was at 8am, with a photo of her outfit.
“Coffee number 1, early start heading to Dublin.” Then, a few hours later: “Landed” - with a photo of her boots, bag and scarf on the aircraft floor.
Photo opp over, the VIP ropes pulled back, she’s gone, swept down the escalator, surrounded by a swarm of security, for a brief visit to the Estée Lauder make-up counter.
Later there’s a private press viewing of the collection.
t’s all very ad lib, very natural, refreshingly there seems to be no slick PR script to adhere to. Of course her showbiz five star lifestyle comes to the fore: she shows the eye shadow she wore to Buckingham Palace for her OBE; she tells how her Morning Aura Creme was created with paparazzi photographers in mind, waiting for her at the end of a gruelling long haul flight. But her anecdotes show her to be a regular working mum too.
“It’s so exciting to be in Dublin,” she says. “I was here five years ago and Harper took her first steps at Brown Thomas.” And, she adds, she got married here too.
Her passion for the make-up radiates through her words. Celebrities use the phrase ‘dream come true’ for virtually every launch, every release. But when Victoria Beckham says it, you believe it.
“Creating a make-up line has always been a dream. I’ve been collecting and wearing make up for longer than I should — mum put make-up on me at school. It’s a dream come true.”