From Spice Girl to fashion world star, Victoria Beckham's style has evolved more than any other celeb we know. Writer Emily Wadsworth flew all the way to China for a rare interview with VB herself, where they talked boyfriend jeans, trends and the piece of style advice she'd give to her younger self.
When I arrive to meet Victoria Beckham in a private room at the JE Mansion in Bejing the first thing she does is ask politely if I could wait a minute. All she wants to do is get out of the dark dress and stilettos she's wearing and into her comfy jeans.
We might imagine Victoria Beckham lives in vertiginously high heels and immaculate tailoring, but it's these comfy jeans - she tells me - that she cannot live without.
A little while later she is snuggled into a large, puffy sofa, pulling on a pair of socks. Her hair is lifted off her face into a bun and she looks totally relaxed.
I can't help but notice how smiley she is, so far away from the serious-faced woman you see in photographs. I had visited her Dover Street store in London a few weeks previously and she excitedly asks me what I made of it.
Victoria has taken a break from her busy design schedule to come to Bejing to judge the International Woolmark Prize, a competition that catapults emerging designers into successful fashion careers. To give you an idea, previous winners include Karl Lagerfeld when he was aged just 21 and Yves Saint Laurent when he was 18, so in fashion terms it's a pretty big deal...
You're here in Bejing to judge the Woolmark prize. Is supporting emerging designers important to you?
“I am very passionate about helping young designers. I love to be involved with Woolmark. I am very fortunate, so I was definitely excited to take part and help emerging talent.”
How have you found being a judge? It’s a little different to your day job!
“I’m so honoured to be a part of the judging panel. It was great to see the emerging designer’s collections. We’re in Beijing and it’s the Year of the Sheep! It’s really exciting. I love being in China and my second store is opening here too.”
What trends are you following at the moment?
“I don’t follow new trends. If I like something I buy it. I really like to support other designers so I don’t always wear my own designs.”
What style advice would you give your 21-year-old self?
“Be true to yourself and don't try to be something you're not. When you do dress in a sexy way make sure that you are doing it for yourself and not for anybody else - leave a little to the imagination. Don’t wear something overly revealing because you don’t need to expose too much at the same time. I often find a covered up look can be sexiest.”
What advice would you give young designers?
“Work for other people. It’s always good to learn.”
What is one item of clothing every girl should have in her wardrobe?
“A simple signature dress is her absolute must-have item. A dress that can work for the day but that can also be sexy if you are going out in the evening with your boyfriend or husband."
What is the key to your style?
“Keeping things simple. My motto is “less is more” and I live by that. I try not to wear anything overly complicated.”
What bag styles are you loving at the moment?
“I really love my pouches; they work for the day and the evening. I really do use them a lot, both the big and the smaller sizes.”
What can we expect from the Victoria Beckham brand in the coming year?
“We want to create more shops. I am also focussing on my designs and we now have pre-collections for all my categories bar eyewear. I just launched a capsule collection of aviators which is exciting.”
Follow Emily Wadsworth on instagram @emilywadsworth