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 have always had a fondness for the storied and elegant Plaza Hotel in New York City. Back in the day I interviewed a delightful fashion editor in the Plaza’s famous Palm Court. I found the whole experience fascinating so when I came across an article about the history of the Plaza I started reading at once.
For 58 years, 89% of the astronauts have been men. And for 192 years, there were no women justices on the Supreme Court until Sandra Day O’Connor in 1981. In light of where we are today – these numbers are shocking.
In the five years that I’ve been writing these fashion blogs I’ve come to the conclusion that the creative heads of these worldwide companies have daunting, or almost impossible, daily jobs. The headline you see above came from Alessandro Michele who, in January 2015, became the creative director of Gucci, the company that was founded in Florence, Italy in 1921 and currently has 500 stores worldwide.
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