Victoria Beckham’s rebirth and new strategy
Victoria Beckham unveiled her pre-spring collection this week in an important turning point for her fashion house, as it represents her first unified collection in several years.
The UK house has amalgamated its two main lines - Victoria by Victoria Beckham and Victoria Beckham – into one signature collection and also recalibrated its price point, to ease any hesitation at the cash register.
A strategic move that comes in the midst of a strategic pivot for the house, which suffered red ink for several years, but now seems poised to return to profitability.
Beckham has also enjoyed rapid success in her own beauty business launched in October 2019, which is fully owned by the company and not a license, whose growth is based on direct-to-consumer sales.
Beckham has long been a darling of the global fashion media, and as a designer has generally garnered very positive reviews from more sophisticated critics. However, her fashion houses had struggled to turn her talent, international renown and energy into a burgeoning business. In the latest year for which figures are available, as registered in Company House, her house scored annual revenues of £38.3 million, and a loss of £16.6 million as it underwent fairly radical restructuring.
However, those figures look about to change, under the guidance of a new CEO Marie Leblanc de Reynies, Chairman Ralph Toledano and the backing of the experienced French luxury vehicle NEO Investment Partners.
So, we caught up with the ever poised Victoria and her CEO for a deeper look at the new fashion and management approach.
“We think of it as this as a rebirth. We are very excited about this collection as we have put Victoria by Victoria Beckham and Victoria Beckham into one cohesive collection, with a more accessible entry price point. To me this is a sweet spot,” explained Beckham, her hair puled back in a chignon.
In the process, the house will create just four collections a year with careful drops, as opposed to eight before.
“It feels like a modem way of dressing after the last 18 months of lockdown. Our consumers made us realize that they wanted ease. Everything changed in the way we dressed in the pandemic. But by comfort I don’t means track suits that you wear to the gym. So, we have beautiful long jerseys dresses; a relaxing silhouette in the trousers; powerful suits; and strong femininity that runs through our 90s-inspired dresses, looking effortlessly cool,” smiled Victoria, attired in a crisp grey cashmere sweater.
Added, Leblanc de Reynies: “What we wanted to achieve is a beautiful design aesthetic at an affordable price price point.”
Noted the CEO, before Victoria Beckham had an average price point of £900, while Victoria by Victoria Beckham was around £300. In future, the core items will be £300 to £700 – with separates at £400 and a full look from £1000 to £1300.
“Our goal is to offer designer luxury at a realistic price point,” stressed Leblanc de Reynies.
The first drop of the unified marque will be end-November, with other drops through to end-January, though the collection will have a six-month duration on the floor.
“Before I struggled to know where would I go for affordable luxury for designer clothes – so we see this as a sweet spot. Plus, people constantly compliment us on the execution of the garments, which is great,” she nods.
Beckham also began working with a female stylist, Jane How, “which we never did before.” Her classy new look book, shot in Regency-mansion splendour, will be used in the brand’s own website and by e-tailers. Beckham already works with the Gotha of fashion e-commerce – Moda Operandi, Matches, Net-a-Porter and MyTheresa.
Even as they eased the price point, however, the ladies have expanded the product mix into a more hybrid collection.
“More unbuttoned,” smiled Beckham. “Now women want to keep the ease yet remain feminine and elegant. And we plan to support them with full range offer.”
Like many houses feeling their way out of the covid crisis, Beckham is cautious about returning to the catwalk.
“I don’t know if a show in September feels appropriate. I’d still like to do a small personal show in London – a luxurious collection in a luxurious environment. But not a big show for the next few seasons,” she confesses.
A mum of four, Beckham impressively manages to juggle family and career, even taking the kids on the school run. In her own clothes, bien sûr, often donning her collab’ collection with Reebok.
“It is something we have done for couple of years and I talk a lot about. It’s been a big success during the pandemic. I work out every single day – so we had lots of fun making proper work out clothing that is functional and looks good enough to go on school runs. David or I still do the school run,” shrugs Victoria, though eldest son Brooklyn now lives in LA and Romeo is about to move to Florida, where his dad has his own MLS soccer club, Inter Miami.
After a taxing couple of years, the ex-Spice Girl seems in a buoyant mood, especially as her beauty business has flourished.
“It’s been a great strategy to go direct-to-consumer, with a strong focus on sustainability and clean formulas,” she beams.
“Our beauty broke even at one-year-old. We’ve had an enormous success,” added Leblanc de Reynies of the project that ranges from skincare to beauty to makeup. With the U.S. its biggest market, followed by the UK, France and Germany.
“We have enjoyed focusing on the social side and communicating with our community. It’s like two daughters - a fashion daughter and beauty daughter,” the designer laughs.
Next up, this spring they are pre-launching shoes and then working on leather goods for next fall winter. They have inked a shoe license with Hom Co, which also handles Proenza Schouler, Chloé and J W Anderson.
“So Victoria Beckham will become a full lifestyle and luxury brand,” insists the ex-Posh Spice. “I have 29 million followers on Instagram that I can reach out to immediately. So I think our opportunities are vast. There are so many things we can do.”
Asked for a time frame for a return to the black, the CEO responds: “We are very much on track. It was clearly impossible in 2020 due to the pandemic, but we resisted well. And we were on the right trend, as we halved losses from 2019. So, in next couple of years we shall be in the right place,” she insisted looking at Beckham.
Who then added from her Mayfair store: “I feel very lucky to be working with Marie and have someone like her by my side. I could not be more excited about the future.”
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