Ms. Beckham doesn't give up easy. She's going to have the last word and make creatures like me gag on humble pie....maybe. Despite the fact that her "collection" is a top seller at Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman, each previous outing has left me cold, even colder than I am without the benefit and protection of fur. It appears that she's determined to join the dysfunctional family that is Fashion. There are many posers and opportunists who see this business as the perfect launching pad to celebrity. She always struck me as a person who would do anything to be noticed, talked about and envied. That she would decide to become a creator and not just a hanger was always something that left me stymied. With this season she has taken a step forward. I don't know who's doing the work but things are beginning to take some shape. The voice I hear still sounds like that of others, but she has given this collection a twist that is her own.
Imagine bits of Beene, Alaia, Lanvin, Balenciaga and some delusions of grandeur to taste and you have the meal she plated for a select few in a smartly tarted up townhouse uptown. The setting looks like an ersatz couture house anywhere on the Avenue Montaigne or Marceau depending on your point of view. The dresses, sunglasses, very smart bags and carrying cases all looked much more grown up they did a season ago.
Fit, fit, fit was the leitmotif. Shapes were subdivided in lines that called to mind Alaia. Farther into the show I sensed I was seeing reinterpretations of Geoffrey Beene and Balenciaga. The empire line was a verbatim Beene-ism as was a dress in black with an embroidery on the skirt in the same way the master would apply a top coat of lace. Inspiration comes from all over including vintage shops and in some cases ones own closet. What really matters is the way you choose to express that inspiration. I have to say she did a good job of it. There were some very cute dresses. It still smacks of the work of a dilettante, think the finishing school of someone like Jacqueline de Ribes and you get the gist. Getting the nod from players like Marc Jacobs, Tom Ford and the like, it's not surprising that she is starting to believe her own press. I love the portrait of her that looks like the face of a working girl. Her new face is that of the serious designer hard at work in her own personal sweatshop.