Many people struggled with the coronavirus lockdown but for designers Victoria Beckham and Emilio de la Morena, showing at London Fashion Week on Monday, it was a source of inspiration. "Limitations can be liberating," former Spice Girl turned designer Beckham explained in the notes for her easy, fluid and Seventies-inspired collection for spring/summer 2021.
"Working remotely, for this collection we reacted spontaneously. We were instinctive. We asked ourselves what has changed? Who do we want to be? What will we desire? "This collection is about freedom-to explore, to dress up, to be yourself." Beckham's catwalk show is normally a glamorous affair, attended by her husband, former England footballer David Beckham, and their four children.
This season, due to coronavirus restrictions on social gatherings, her collection of 21 eclectic outfits was showcased in a video shot in the Victoria Miro gallery of contemporary art. There were floor-skimming, apple green trousers worn with a shirt and trench coat for a nonchalant style, and a tuxedo jacket, black trousers and leopard-print scarf for a more glamorous touch.
With more than a touch of the Seventies, there were also long, flowing dresses worn with heavy gold chain necklaces. Since launching her eponymous label in 2008, Beckham has become a major player in the fashion industry, selling clothes and accessories in more than 400 shops around the world.
However she has yet to make a profit, reporting a loss of £12.3 million ($15.7 million) in 2018, with sales down 16 percent to £35.1 million. The 46-year-old designer, believed to be worth £335 million, initially applied for the UK government furlough scheme to pay 30 of her 120 staff during lockdown, but withdrew her application after a torrent of criticism.
'I'm going to be me'
London-based Spanish designer Emilio de la Morena, whose sexy, elegant clothes have been worn by stars from Gwyneth Paltrow to Lana del Rey, considered a change of direction when lockdown was imposed. When everybody stopped going out, particularly in the evenings, he considered switching to daywear. "We are always working and suddenly you stop and it is as if your life has no meaning," he told AFP at his show, one of few to physically take place. But he decided: "I'm going to be me." The result is a collection of cocktail dresses in five colours-white, black, fuchsia, crimson and tomato red-to mark the five "troubles" he identified from lockdown: rage, money, sex, noise and obsession.
The dresses are either very long or very short, as he sought out extremes, and made from satin and stretch fabric he already had in his studio. Despite being in London for two decades, de la Morena's Spanish roots are clearly evident in the intense colors, tight fits and ruffles. Lockdown hit his business, with previous orders for evening dresses cancelled. But he is now making more sales to private clients than luxury stores-and is even distributing clothes via Amazon. The pandemic, he says, "I think is changing everything".-AFP