Looking perky in lime green, Posh’s reinvention from pop princess to fashion queen began here, says Liz Jones.
When Spice Girl Victoria Beckham emerged on the Maria Grachvogel catwalk, there was a collective gasp. This was before selfies, Instagram, iPads, so there weren’t the now habitual thousands of flashes and screens held aloft, but we certainly got on our Blackberries; I remember Vogue’s fashion director Lucinda Chambers frantically, archaically sketching.
This was the first indication Victoria was interested in fashion, so the front row was thrilled. A celebrity transfusion was sorely needed, as London Fashion Week then wasn’t what it is today: no A-list front row at Burberry, as the label showed in Milan; no supermodels, as they’d skip London, and no bloggers. This fabulous collaboration was a first.
Sitting on the front row, I was gobsmacked. Only months before, I’d secured Victoria for the October 1999 cover of Marie Claire, where I was editor. She was shot by renowned fashion photographer Patrick Demarchelier in a pink Versace gown but, unfortunately, the sample size drowned her, especially in the bust area. Yet here she was on the catwalk in hot pants, blatantly bra-less in a lime sweater that exposed the outline of her not inconsiderable, perfectly spherical breasts. Ah, perhaps that’s why she was there: to showcase a brand-new body.
Afterwards, there was a clamour to get backstage, and I remember seeing her elfin form surrounded by girls tall as trees. She looked desperate to be accepted, possibly feeling, aged 25, old and short among the 16-year-old models. It would be eight years before she would launch her own label and secure her cool fashion chops, but the die was cast that night. She loved that world and wanted it to love her back.
Also that month…
- The film The Beach, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, hit UK cinemas.
- The last original Peanuts comic strip featuring Charlie Brown and Snoopy appeared in newspapers one day after creator Charles M Schulz died.
- Harold Shipman launched an appeal against his conviction for murdering 15 women patients. Police were investigating his role in 175 more deaths.
- MPs voted overwhelmingly for the gay age of consent to be lowered to 16.
- Christina Aguilera won a Best New Artist Grammy.