London’s first Digital Fashion Week starts today, providing an ideal opportunity to reflect on the direction of British fashion – and to what extent it has reached.
As we look back at the history of the country’s modern style, there is one pair that embodies the evolution of clothing: David and Victoria Beckham.
Today, the Victoria fashion brand is a trusted tool for Fashion Week, and David is an elegant style icon, but it wasn’t always that way. For one reason, who can forget when they go everywhere in matching clothes?
David and Victoria Beckham at the MTV Movie Awards 2003 in Los Angeles. credit: John Kopalov / Magic movie / Getty Images
At the turn of the millennium, you couldn’t open a newspaper in Britain without seeing the Posh and Becks color-coordinated approach to what we now know as #couplegoals.
At a screening of “Withnail and I” in 2001, they chose brown from head to toe, with David in a Matrix-style trench coat.
David and Victoria Beckham at the “Withnail & I” in London in 2001. credit: Justin Goff / UK Press / Getty Images
However, just weeks ago, there was a more famous curated fashion moment.
The peak of Beckham-mania was when the supercouple got off the skin of the head to toe at the Versace party in London. Victoria was about to start recording his third Spice Girls album, and David had just helped Manchester United claim the English and European Championships. Their first son, Brooklyn, was newly born, and the couple recently bought a cozy family mansion that the media dubbed “Buckingham Palace”.
“What were we thinking?” David Beckham said as he looked at some of his clothes matching his wife. (Justin Goff / UK Press / Getty Images) credit: Justin Goff / UK Press / Getty Images
It is often overlooked that clothes were hugely inappropriate for this season. It was, after all, mid-June (although British summer is often so mild that you can wear all the skin without breaking a sweat). Perhaps this explains why David and Victoria chose to cut the zippers out of their flanked collars, leaving smaller flashes of skin that voyeurize through what have actually become keyhole necklines.
However, for a very bold look, it was completely devoid of stance. They looked like a pair of cute drivers pausing in the English Village Pub for Orange Juice. Elastic-haired David – who completed the outfit with a pair of flat shoes – wasn’t convinced of the idea to start.
There was a certain shame in his eyes that night, as if he knew he would one day come to regret the decision. And indeed he did.
However, Victoria was less willing to shirk than in the past. “I do not look back and back away from anything,” Grazia said in 2018.
But perhaps most importantly: the groups did exactly what they were supposed to do.
The UK’s obsession with Beckham’s fashion may have been partly supported by the tabloid mocking the notion of new opulence, but publicity served their cause. Even the most controversial groups have contributed to one of the most successful brand building exercises in modern entertainment.
Beckham was photographed at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding at Windsor Castle in 2018. credit: Max Mumbai / Indigo / Getty Images