Victoria Beckham’s collaboration with Mango shows how far designer has come

<span>Victoria Beckham said she wanted the Mango collection to ‘speak to a wider audience’ in a way that retained the aesthetic of her brand.</span><span>Photograph: Mango</span>
Victoria Beckham said she wanted the Mango collection to ‘speak to a wider audience’ in a way that retained the aesthetic of her brand.Photograph: Mango

As a twentysomething Spice Girl, Victoria Beckham proclaimed that she wanted to be “as famous as Persil automatic”. Now, as she enters her sixth decade, the pop star turned designer has eclipsed her goal.

On Tuesday, her debut designer collection for the high street chain Mango landed globally online and in select stores. By 8am in London a queue had formed outside the brand’s store on Oxford Street as those inside grappled to get their hands on tailored pieces, evening wear and jewellery.

In an interview with WWD, Beckham said she had decided to work with Mango to “speak to a wider audience in a way that feels relevant to my brand and retains my aesthetic and DNA”. The shoppers browsing in the Oxford Street store consisted of mainly millennials, who grew up watching Beckham lip-syncing in the 90s. While many could not afford to spend four figures on a blazer from Beckham’s own eponymous label – launched in 2008 – they were willing to splash out on one from the Mango collaboration for £180. “I don’t have a set budget for today,” said one shopper. “I love Victoria’s main line but I can only ever dream of getting one very special piece from that. This collection means I can have multiple.”

Deborah Ogden, a personal branding expert, said the decision to partner with the mass retailer is part of a wider strategy. “Brand is all about connection, and by collaborations with Mango she is expanding her audience and giving them the opportunity to buy into her brand. This may be entry level but over the years that relationship may grow, for example via makeup and eventually her eponymous fashion brand.”

Beckham’s collection is the final in a tetrad of luxury designer collaborations unveiled by fast fashion retailers this month. While H&M teamed up with the emerging, edgy designer Rokh and & Other Stories partnered with the whimsical Chinese designer Susan Fang, pieces from both can still be found in stores. Although Mango played it safe by choosing a well-known name and leaning heavily into what shoppers called a “typical VB aesthetic” consisting of a muted colour palette and simple silhouettes, it is a strategy that has proved fruitful. By noon Mango had completely sold out of the jewellery and shoppers were advised to join a waiting list for pieces, including a £170 black slip dress.

The collaboration is a major coup for Mango but Beckham will be just as pleased. It cements her status, not only as a designer that has reach well beyond the hallowed front row, but as a bona fide standalone brand. Her husband, David, may be credited with kickstarting “Brand Beckham” with his Pepsi adverts and pants for H&M but it is Victoria who has earned the moniker of fashion’s hardest grafter.

In the early days of her career she cleverly carved out her Posh Spice persona, during the noughties she leaned heavily into the Wag aesthetic before retiring that role, including the bright bodycon and flashy Birkin bags, in an attempt to become a fashion designer taken seriously by the industry.

The pivot has paid off. In 2022, she decided to keep her atelier in west London but restage her show in Paris. Two years later, she continues to hold the coveted Friday night headline slot of fashion week and Anna Wintour has a regular seat next to David and the four Beckham children. Evolving beyond ready-to-wear, now eyewear, handbags, makeup and fragrance also feature. Last year, the brand turned a profit for the first time.

A four-part Netflix series released last October further propelled Brand Beckham into the stratosphere. Charting David’s football career, it amassed more than 3.8 million viewers during its first week, with clips of the couples’ on-screen teasing going viral. Brand Beckham quickly spun the memes into merchandise, with “David’s Wife” and “My Dad Had a Rolls-Royce” T-shirts for sale for a cool £110 on Ever the entrepreneur, the brandification blends seamlessly into her personal life too. At her 50th birthday party on Saturday, she dressed guests in pieces from her main line, including Salma Hayek, who attended with her husband, François-Henri Pinault, the chief executive of Kering. Other guests, including Tom Cruise, were given goodie bags containing Victoria Beckham branded candles and a “F***, I’m fifty” emblazoned T-shirt. Reflecting in a post on Instagram about entering a new decade, she wrote: “My passion has always been to dream big, then dream even bigger!”

Many now believe the quinquagenarian is only just getting started.