Hanging up your mini skirt, along with chopping off your long hair, used to be one of those rites of passage women undertook pretty much unquestioningly in their 30s – at the latest. With enlightenment (and exercise) that deadline has been pushed back and back until probably the twelfth of never. It all depends on the woman, the mini skirt and the hair.
With a Farrah Fawcett-esque mane, Victoria Beckham, 48 and 1/6th can’t wait to slip into one again, having last worn them at least a decade ago. Age doesn’t even figure as a factor in her equations – she seems more concerned about wearing them in a way that doesn’t look retro.
“I’ve lived in denim the past two years and that’s still a go-to, mixing them with men’s shirting or scarf neck tie blouses which feels smart but relaxed,” she says. “But now I’m ready to strut my stuff. I’m dying to wear minis, but how do I do that in a way that feels fresh and relevant?’
The basic premise, it turns out, is pretty much the same as it’s always been. There’s only so much you can do with a narrow band of fabric. But how you wear it is what counts. In Beckham’s latest collection, which she unveiled in her studio in West London via Zoom this week, the models wore them with thigh high, high heeled pointed boots.
That’s quite wintery – this collection lands in November – but it does seem as though tall boots will continue to be a key component in our wardrobes. For now, Beckham will style her minis with blazers. The latter have slightly wider shoulders than her normal block, a nipped in waist and they’re cut away at the front at the hips, the better to wear with a skirt.
Beckham, it hardly needs stating, is model thin and in the past, the received wisdom would have argued that’s why she can “get away with it”.
But these days, if you have the self assurance and play the proportions right (padded shoulders and a block heel will help balance things out) then why not?
We’re in an ever-evolving scenario of sartorial rules. Beckham’s clearly feeling confident the older she gets – so much so she even riffed on one of her most notorious looks, the fuchsia Roland Mouret dress and matching Birkin she wore in 2007 in her Pob days.
In recent years, she has tended to put a degree of distance between Fashion Victoria and Wag Victoria. But now she’s sufficiently bold to reference it. “If you’d told me I’d have desired bright shiny jersey six months ago I’d have thought you’d gone crazy,” she says. “But here we are. I really like challenging myself with what I wear. I never want to play it completely safe”.
Hence the high waisted, slim legged emerald trousers in this collection, in what she calls a “polarising colour. I think polarising colours have become my stock in trade.” As for these trousers, “they’re my version of those black skinny trousers Olivia Newton John wore in Grease. I always wanted to wear that look”. At 48 she’s found a way in.
Boots and toning tights for when the weather’s cooler will make minis a modern classic for lots of women. It’s probably not insignificant that Beckham’s inspiration for this collection was American Gigolo, the 1980 Richard Gere vehicle that put Lauren Hutton on the cinema screens.
“It’s not that I drew on it literally,” says Beckham (although there’s a grey three piece trouser suit that might be traced back to Gere’s famous Armani costumes), “but I loved the idea of Lauren Hutton owning her s–t. That’s a strong fashion message”.
Beckham could be said to be doing just that at the Miami wedding earlier this year of her eldest son Brooklyn to Nicola Peltz. She wore a liquid silk satin lace trimmed slip dress with no visible underwear which currently heads the leader board of Not Your Trad Mother of the Bride Looks. Did she feel there was a dearth of mother of the groom looks she could relate to?
“I was actually pretty relaxed about the whole thing. It was Nicole and Brooklyn’s day, not about us. I just wanted to feel comfortable – and I knew it would be warm.”
Her team spent days positioning the floral lace on the bodice and the fabric took weeks to create in an Italian mill (she says she’ll be using it in future collections “the way it captures the light is amazing”). In other words, as with most spontaneous simplicity, this required a lot of thought and preparation.
There are more slip dresses in this collection – designed again, to wear under blazers (that’s a hard working piece in the Beckham paradigm). She goes bra-less, but when that’s not feasible, her advice is “get some fabulous underwear and show it off.”