Words: Joanne Wilkinson
Image: Phil Stafford
Much is written and rewritten about so-called ‘fashion icons’ of the past and present, but what happens when their signature looks are unattainable and, quite frankly, ridiculous? Here’s the first person on my anti-fashion icon list, which features some of the most universally annoying individuals whose style I’ll never want to emulate…
Anti-fashion Icon #1: Victoria Beckham
It physically pains me every time I read a fashion feature that makes reference to VB “finally doing what she does best, fashion”. As Posh Spice, Victoria ‘I-refuse-to-smile’ Adams was halfway cool. She had some sort of identity, albeit manufactured, and her pretend pout was copied by wannabe fashionistas in playgrounds everywhere.
But, armed with a man-sized Ken doll in nice-but-dim David Beckham, Vicky B became one half of the world’s most infuriatingly unstylish couple, fated to take up more column inches than is ever acceptable for people who have nothing to say. From matching black leather outfits to puke-inducing underwear adverts, this is the couple who sell themselves more than any other and you have to wonder, who actually buys into the Beckham brand?
I seem to remember the point when the ‘90s ended and Posh Spice started hanging around with Dane Bowers wearing head scarves and sprayed-on leather outfits. Then designer Maria Grachvogel let her loose on the catwalk wearing hot pants. It was hard to decide whether her hip bones or her breast implants won the battle for most protruding body parts.
Were we really to take this failed solo singer turned clotheshorse seriously in the fashion world? It would seem so.
The nail in her fashion coffin should’ve been the ill-fated trip she embarked on when accompanying her hubby on England’s World Cup trip in Germany, where she managed to spawn a million wannabes of a different sort when she helped mould what is now known as a WAG. When your hair extensions cover more of your tiny frame than the entire bottom half of your outfit, it’s time to go back to the mirror and start again, swapping the hotpants and heels combination for something remotely resembling an outfit.
But, after enduring about a decade of endless articles heralding the former Spice Girl as some sort of fashion icon, the inevitable happened. Victoria Beckham, the fashion designer, was born. It was bad enough that she made other fashion designers’ clothes look uncool by wearing them, now she was unleashing a range of clothing that threatened to make other women look equally ridiculous?!
I say threatened because, as much as I’d love to say her designs are all hideous, the range itself is full of non-offensive styles. So I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s only when Victoria wears her clothes that the actual fashion crimes are committed. Sometimes shoes can be too high, pouts too polished and talons too long. And the odd hair out of place wouldn’t go amiss either.
No doubt she’ll continue to sell her overpriced garments to the super-rich for many seasons to come, but a few non-offensive dresses don’t erase the series of offensive VB looks we’ve had to endure over the years. This is the woman whose idea of off-duty style is to team a trucker hat with 6-inch stilettos. And on that unfashionable note, I’ll end my anti-fashion argument.