Victoria Beckham’s Vogue video is a pitch-perfect send up
A mockumentary marking Beckham's 10 years as a designer and Spice Girl history has gone viral
For as long as anyone can remember, she’s been Sulky Spice. Takes-herself-too-seriously Spice. Her-with-the-husband-who’ll-probably-leave-any-day-now Spice. So what’s a girl to do when a good pal, who’s now the editor of Vogue, offers to stage a tribute of her eponymous fashion brand? Why, send the whole lot of us – and herself – up, of course.
Victoria Beckham’s lesser-spotted sense of humour is supposed to be showbiz’s best-kept secret. Because she’s never been one to overly pander to the media, playing a much more circumspect game than her ebullient band mates, she’s been roundly painted as the sourpuss hellbent on keeping Brand Beckham up and running.
But this week, she had her own moment in the sun. it was as unexpected as it was glorious.
As Beckham’s Vogue UK cover hit the news-stands, an accompanying video gained traction for all the right reasons.
A short mockumentary celebrated Victoria as, in her own words, one of “the most enduring style icons of all time. Me, Victoria Beckham”. With a number of Vogue staffers on hand to deliver epithets, the video becomes at once a celebration of her talent as a designer, and a brilliantly knowing nod to her past.
Victoria arrives on set in a non-descript black tube dress and unapologetically makes a V-Sign to the camera for an extended moment; both staples from her Spice Girls days.
From there, the tongue-in-cheek references come thick and fast. There’s the wonderful, unforgettable ephemera from two decades of tabloid bothering, from the excessive purple velvet chairs from her Luttrelstown Castle wedding, to the platinum bob from the apex of her WAG years.
Discussing “new” style ideas with Eninful, the editor notes that he is thinking more “contemporary woman, less working girl”. Victoria keeps referring back to platform trainers, latex catsuits and dancing (“Spice up your life, Edward”). Make-up artists Charlotte Tilbury offers a bare hint of golden glow: slathered with gold paint, Victoria breathes satisfactorily, “thank you very much”.
More than anything, Vogue’s pitch-perfect video shows the world a woman who knows exactly what she is doing
It’s part hagiographical, part Spiceworld sequel; a moment that at once sends up her erstwhile fashion choices, while taking aim at anyone who has dismissed Beckham the designer as uninspired and derivative.
While the other Spice Girls appear to have happily have clung to/celebrated their glorious pop past, Victoria was often depicted as the one who downplayed her musical roots. If often led commentators to believe Beckham was somehow embarrassed of her girl group origins, and perhaps more so of her perceived lack of talent (she revealed in 2016 that producers would turn her studio microphone off during her time in the Spice Girls).
Well, no more.
“I have a, sort of, bad experience with microphones,” she says at one point. “You know, most of the time they were either turned off or just turned down really low, so you couldn’t really hear me.”
In fact, one look at this video hints that the surly introversion that Beckham has been known for isn’t that: rather, it’s a simple refusal to play by the usual rules. She has always been droll and ready to poke fun at herself, as anyone who watched her 2007 reality series Coming To America will readily attest. She has just chosen to keep that side of herself largely away from public consumption.
More than anything, Vogue’s pitch-perfect video shows the world a woman who knows exactly what she is doing. The media may have taken potshot after potshot of her fashion choices, her talents and her marriage down the years.
She’s not just aware of it, but still standing after it all. Yet this uneasy tango with the media is part of what keeps Brand Beckham – or at the very least, Brand Victoria – alive.
Earlier this week, as Beckham’s Vogue cover, featuring her four children, was released, certain outposts of the tabloid media had a field day.
Some passed remark after remark on the fact that her husband David was in absentia from the cover, with a potential marriage split announcement all but imminent.
It’s the sort of fevered speculation that means that Brand Beckham will likely thrive for some time to come. But Victoria knows – as we do – who the joke is really on here.