A favorite “fun read” in the Weekend Financial Times is “Lunch with the FT” which always seems to live up to my expectations. In the March 17, 2019 edition a two-hour lunch/interview by Jo Ellison, the FT’s fashion editor with Victoria Beckham did not disappoint. Full disclosure: I once sent an email to Ellison pointing out a tiny error in her column: she had the wrong year for the blockbuster Alexander McQueen show at the Met. She thanked me but sounded upset that it had happened. I thought to myself, “She’s a perfectionist and a real professional.”
WHO IS VICTORIA BECKHAM?
Ellison notes that, “Beckham has 24 million Instagram followers, a global fashion brand, a football legend for a husband, four children and a fame so intense she has booked our lunch at Nobu (the celebrated sushi restaurant on Old Park Lane in Mayfair, London) under a pseudonym.” By the way, the interviewee always picks the restaurant for a FT lunch.
“SHE IS NOT SPORTING HER TRADEMARK POUT”
This is Ellison’s first impression as she explains: “The pout was first affected in the 1990s to get Victoria into her character as Posh, the haughty stiletto-wearing member of the Spice Girls. The group sold more than 85 million records worldwide – and is still the biggest-selling girl group of all time.” Note: Beckham is 5’ 4” so the stiletto heels were a bit of a necessity.
Artwork – Courtesy of the Financial Times
“HER DAY STARTS AT 6 AM WITH A 90-MINUTE WORKOUT”
And that’s with a trainer so there’s no slacking off. Reading this made me want to head for the nearest sofa and lie down or, as Ellison says, “It sounds absolutely punitive, but Beckham isn’t bothered. ‘Working out is one of the only things I do for me. I go to work, come home and I’m with the kids.’”
She married 20 years ago and now has three boys and one girl. Beckham and her husband David, the midfield phenomenon, have built one of the most powerful brands in the world and were paid 30 million pounds (or $39,168,600 U.S. dollars) in dividends from their holding company in 2017.
“For the duration of their relationship,” notes Ellison, “she has weathered media scrutiny and constant speculation that their marriage is in crisis. But in conversation she always talks of their union, and their business, as a deal in which the bond is ironclad. ‘Me and David, love or hate the two of us, we work really hard,’ she says. ‘Getting success is one thing, maintaining it a whole other thing.’” I totally agree with that statement.
“AFTER 10 YEARS IN BUSINESS, HER COMPANY IS IN THE RED”
Ellison writes that “she knew it was coming. ‘It was no surprise to me, or my investors,’ says Beckham. “She knew it was coming so it was part of the reason she took on an investment from NEO Investment Partners in November 2017 – in return for a 28% stake in her business. It is now co-owned by NEO, Simon Fuller’s XIX Entertainment and Beckham Brand Holdings, that owns her business and the David Beckham brand. The investment came with a new CEO, a stringent overhaul and the promise she would cut a significant number of jobs.”
“BUILDING A LUXURY BRAND CAN BE EXPENSIVE”
‘This isn’t a vanity project,’ says Beckham. ‘I want this brand to be here in 10, 20, 30, 40 years time. I need to break even and then I need to be profit- able. We’re on the right track to do that, but it’s not going to happen tomorrow.’
Beckham is the embodiment of GIRL POWER. She turned 45 on April 17th of this year. So what’s ahead? Wrapping up, Ellison notes that, “Her next venture, the Victoria Beckham beauty line, based on “clean” cosmetics, fragrance and skincare, will launch three months from now in September 2019. She already has a huge social media platform – in February 2019 she launched her own YouTube channel – this is millennial thinking even though she is squarely Generation X.”
Going forward, we wish her all the success in the world.Shaun Nelson-Henrick
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I just read an article that sounded – to me at least – like “a canary in a coal mine” or an early warning of danger. This piece, written by Joe Pompeo, appeared in the May 2020 issue of Vanity Fair magazine with the title “The British Tabloid Invasion” and a subtitle that read, “How the Daily Mail is conquering American gossip.”
The paparazzi horde, La Dolce Vita, 1960 – photo courtesy of Vanity Fair
Apparently the good old U.S. is a nation of “not great” sleepers. Really? And I thought I was the only one! According to a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention it was revealed that one out of three Americans are chronically sleep-deprived. Yikes!
I think we’re all taken by the incredible mystique of the famous French fashion house, Hermès that has been with us for two centuries and is still owned and operated by the same family. From its beginnings in fine equestrian leather goods, they are – in the tumultuous year 2020 – best known for their handbags and many other items.
My image of Hermès has always been rarified products at equally rarified prices so imagine my surprise when I recently received a very stylish publication of theirs in the mail.
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