Portrait of a Lady: Victoria Beckham’s Passion for Old Masters
A head of the upcoming Sotheby's Old Master Paintings sale on 4 July, her London flagship store plays host to exceptional paintings by Lucas Cranach the Elder, Peter Paul Rubens and the Circle of Leonardo da Vinci. We sat down with Victoria to discuss her passion for collaboration, building a collection and filling her store with art...
Art and fashion have always had a longstanding love affair, and you’ve talked about your desire for your store to be an "evolving space to showcase the work of artists". Is the relationship between art and fashion important to you?
Definitely. When we worked on the concept and design of Dover Street I knew that I wanted art to be able to play a part in the space. That’s the reason we made sure that the store had the capacity to constantly change and evolve with moveable fixtures. I am constantly inspired by art and artists and for me the synergy between art and fashion is incredibly relevant.
In the past few years I have been able to use the store to collaborate with some amazing artists. From Martin Creed’s Work No. 2497, Half the Air in a Given Space to Eddie Peake’s Courgettes and Emily Young’s sculpted works – that stood amongst my Autumn/Winter 2017 collection – it has been a privilege to be able to share my passion for art with my customers.
You mentioned working with Turner Prize winner Martin Creed on an installation for your flagship Mayfair store, and now you are hosting works from the Sotheby’s Old Master Paintings sale. How did the idea of these partnerships come about?
David and I have collected art for years, it’s a shared passion and one that I have been able to explore through my brand. I am so lucky to have great advisors in the field who have introduced me to certain artists, and through our own collection we have met some wonderful dealers and gallery owners who have brought some great ideas to the table.
You’ve previously collected contemporary art, but for this show you have curated a selection of Old Masters. What was it about the paintings you’ve selected to exhibit that drew you to them?
I became fascinated with Old Masters after visiting The Frick Collection in New York last year. I have always been drawn to contemporary art, but that visit was a real eye-opener for me. So when the opportunity to work with Sotheby’s, and learn from their experts arose, I jumped at the opportunity. We chose to focus on portraiture, and each of these images represents such fascinating insight into each artist's era and the lives of their sitters.
Where do you draw inspiration from when beginning the creative process of working on a collection?
Living in London, and being lucky enough to travel extensively, I can draw inspiration from so many different experiences and locations. Recently art, and some of the amazing spaces and galleries I’ve visited have provided starting points for me. Late last year for instance I took my team to see the Jean-Michel Basquiat exhibition at the Barbican – and his works really informed my AW18 Victoria, Victoria Beckham collection.
Art is a very personal passion, driven by individual tastes — as is fashion. What would be your advice to people starting their collection, or developing a unique style?
Invest in art that you love and that resonates with you whether aesthetically or intellectually — or both. Whether it’s an Old Master or something contemporary, buy pieces that give you joy or inspire you every time you see them.
With your previous projects in mind, and as an avid and engaged collector of art, are there other artists you would like to collaborate with in future?
The list is long and endless... Since opening my store on Dover Street I have been lucky enough to work with some fantastic artists, both established and emerging, and I really hope this type of collaboration can continue into the future. I am so excited for this partnership with Sotheby’s and having another opportunity to showcase incredible works of art in my store.
The Victoria Beckham brand is now firmly established as a world-leading fashion house, but you are always innovating and collaborating. What direction do you see it heading in future?
This year is an exciting one, as it marks the 10th anniversary of my brand. I’m currently working on the Spring/Summer 2019 Ready-to-Wear collection, which we will show for the first time during London Fashion Week in September – it feels like the perfect way to celebrate a decade in the business. And beyond that... I’m really lucky that I have a platform from which I am able to work on projects that really excite me – I have so many different passions, so to explore these through my brand is something I feel so lucky to be able to do.
Who is the artist or designer – historic or contemporary – whose work you have admired the most?
Again, it’s a long list! David and I have been investing in art for years, so it’s difficult to call out a favourite. I went to see the Yayoi Kusama exhibition at the Victoria Miro gallery in London, and I was really blown away by it. I absolutely love her work. And I have to say, since working with Sotheby’s, and learning so much from the team there – I have a huge appreciation for Old Masters. It’s been an absolute pleasure.