LONDON — Like so many of her London peers, Victoria Beckham has been tightening operations in the wake of COVID-19 and, as part of those efforts, is consolidating her fashion offer under a single Victoria Beckham label.
In an interview at her Dover Street store in London, Beckham and her chief executive officer Marie Leblanc de Reynies said, under the new strategy, the Victoria Victoria Beckham and mainline collections will be blended, with a new average price point of around 550 pounds, compared with the 900 pounds of the old mainline collection.
The entry price is lower, too, at 90 to 100 pounds, while customers can now pay 1,000 pounds for a full Victoria Beckham look, according to Leblanc de Reynies.
The two said they worked hard on sourcing, supply chain and manufacturing to ensure that the quality of the collection remained the same. The plan is to relaunch footwear and leather goods under the new brand and pricing structure later this year. The brand has also tapped top stylist Jane How, who’s worked for decades with brands including Hussein Chalayan, Pucci and Stella McCartney, to consult on the collections.
The new look Victoria Beckham collection will make its debut today, with the pre-spring 2022 collection. Going forward, Beckham plans to showcase four collections a year, following the seasonal calendar. The overall offer in terms of stock keeping units is down by about 30 to 35 percent.
Lanvin Resort 2022
Beckham said lockdown spurred her to rethink her approach to the business.
“We realized during lockdown how we wanted to change our wardrobe, adding simple wearable pieces — the perfect T-shirt, sweater, shirt — and mixing them with more elevated, fashion pieces as well. And without compromising on our desirability, quality or image. We are very happy with how the collection has come out. There is absolutely no compromise here. I will wear everything in this collection,” Beckham said.
A look from the Victoria Beckham pre-spring 2022 collection. Image Courtesy of Victoria Beckham
Leblanc de Reynies described the new offer as “femininity and wearability at an affordable price,” and said the aim is to offer a single collection “with a clear point of view, one cohesive vision and aesthetic for the different moments in the customer’s life.”
Going forward, the collections will offer the signature styles and fabrics that Beckham is known for — denim, tailoring, dresses short and long, and colorful knits in a variety of proportions.
Leblanc de Reynies added: “We saw a shift in the customer during the pandemic. They’re looking for more ease, and price is also an important consideration. But she’s also interested in lifestyle and having multiple of products, like eyewear.”
Beckham said there’s been another force at work, reshaping her approach. Since she launched Victoria Beckham Beauty, she’s tapped into a new customer base that’s begun buying into the brand at a lower price point. Beckham has also encouraged that shift, styling beauty and fashion together as part of her lifestyle offer.
“We are noticing that our customer base is opening up, which is very exciting and shows us the opportunity that the brand has. And it feels like a rebirth,” Beckham said. “And we’ve done a lot of mixing between beauty and fashion. We want to support our customers, facilitate their lives, produce a curation where you find these [beauty and fashion] products together.”
The pre-spring collection, styled by How, is a day-to-night all-rounder that’s been photographed with flats, including a snazzy tuxedo shoe in mint green. Beckham herself was wearing heels during the interview, and said she likes to have options.
Pre-spring 2022 looks range from the playful — a bright green printed pajama suit, sequin skirt and electric pink sweater — to the more understated. There are satin slip and jersey dresses with low backs or cutouts; swingy, short black dresses with fluted cuffs, and a host of wide-leg, cargo style trousers in denim, corduroy and stretchy cotton. Knits are typically quirky — some come with a little eel-like creature swimming across it.
A look from the pre-spring 2022 Victoria Beckham collection. Image Courtesy of Victoria Beckham
Asked about when the brand could expect to become profitable, Leblanc de Reynies didn’t give a time frame, but said the changes the company has been making “are setting the business up” for profitability, and “as a team, we’re proud of our progress.”
As reported earlier this year, the launch of Victoria Beckham Beauty took a bite out of the brand’s bottom line in fiscal 2019, with losses widening to 16.6 million pounds from 12.5 million pounds, despite a 7 percent uptick in sales to 38.3 million pounds, according to accounts filed at Companies House in the U.K.
The company had been on track to profitability in 2020 before the pandemic struck, Leblanc de Reynies said in the Companies House report.
The company had already begun consolidating last summer, setting out a new structure and vision aimed at making it a leaner and more efficient machine, reducing skus and putting an even bigger focus on digital, direct-to-consumer sales.
As reported, last summer, there were already plans in the works to add more denim, jersey, shirting and casualwear, with average selling prices of the main line collection set to be reduced.
As a result of last summer’s restructuring, less than 20 percent of the workforce, or around 20 jobs, were lost.
Beckham was certainly not alone in laying off staff. Fellow British fashion brands Stella McCartney, Burberry and Mulberry and retailers Harrods, Harvey Nichols and Selfridges, were all forced to set, or accelerate, restructuring plans and lay off staff in 2020 due to a decline in demand as a result of quarantines, a drop in international tourism, consumers’ fears about spending in a shrinking economy and a switch from physical to online retail.
Victoria Beckham’s business, which launched in 2008, is owned jointly by Beckham Brand Holdings Ltd.; XIX Entertainment, and the private equity firm NEO investment Partners, which invested 30 million pounds in 2017.
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