After watching Victoria Beckham on TV less than 48 hours previously, it feels even more unsettling than usual to be sitting in front of her.
She looks unfeasibly fresh for a person who so recently danced the night away with the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex, first at Frogmore House and then later, if reports are to be believed, at the after-after party at Chiltern Firehouse.
Like any self-respecting obsessive who watched the wedding ceremony five times, I am desperate for more detail — any detail, however scant, on what happened after the cameras stopped rolling. Was the happy couple’s first dance really to Whitney’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)? Did the guests nibble mini dirty burgers and boost their flagging energy with teeny-tiny cones of candyfloss? Did the Spice Girls secretly reform after all?
Alas, she will not say. Not a peep. Not a snippet. She won’t even confirm that the DJ played Whitney Houston.
“I can’t say,” she demurs. Nor did any details appear on her or David’s Instagram feeds: no “Here I am in trainers under my ball gown” pics à la Serena Williams; no lift selfies à la Jessica Mulroney. The Beckhams might not be averse to sharing details of their personal lives, but when it comes to the personal lives of their friends, they know precisely when to STFU. Perhaps the need for discretion can only truly be understood by those who have suffered from the lack of it.
She is, however, happy to talk about the service, saying how wonderful Windsor Castle looked, and how lucky they were with the weather. “It was such a beautiful, incredible wedding. It was just the best day. They looked so happy, and everybody was just so happy for them. Meghan seems like a genuinely lovely woman, who really loves him. It felt very real, very honest.”
Did she feel nervous? “I wasn’t nervous, no. I was just really honoured to have been invited. I would have been nervous if it had been my day.”
Knowing the wedding would be one of the most-watched events of the year — more than a billion people tuned in globally — would be enough to give even the most confident dresser qualms about what to wear, but not Beckham, who simply plucked a dress from her upcoming pre-spring/summer 2019 collection, an understated midi dress with split sleeves.
“Quite honestly, it was such a relief not to be hugely pregnant at this royal wedding that it was a joy to be able to choose anything I wanted to wear,” she laughs, referring to the fact that she was almost seven months pregnant with daughter Harper during William and Kate’s nuptials in 2011. Some were quick to point out similarities between the navy dress she wore then and the navy dress she wore on Saturday, which is odd, since the only thing both had in common was their colour.
“I love a bit of navy,” she smiles. “The dress is one of my favourites: it isn’t in store until November, but we’ve had so many inquiries about it that I’m seeing whether I can bring it forward.”
Hours after we meet, I receive an email confirming that the dress will be available from July.
She loved Meghan’s Givenchy dress, designed by Claire Waight Keller. “I thought she looked absolutely beautiful. It really suited her. I thought it was perfect for her. And Harry looked great.” She also approved of Bishop Michael Curry’s passionate sermon. “I thought what he said was very strong and optimistic. Very powerful.”
But back to business. We are at the Connaught to discuss Beckham’s latest venture, a terrace for Scott’s restaurant designed in conjunction with the celebrity florist Flora Starkey. Next time Charles Saatchi sits smoking his cigar outdoors, he will have the privilege of doing so amid espaliered fruit trees, white roses and seasonal English plants inspired by Vita Sackville-West’s “White Garden” at Sissinghurst Castle.
Beckham and Starkey have also designed a large floral arch at the restaurant’s oft-photographed main entrance, festooned with more white roses and wisteria.
“I love a white rose,” says Beckham. “I didn’t want anything too formal or too overwhelming, but something that reflected my personality, my style and my brand.” Is she a keen gardener herself? “I wouldn’t say I’m a keen gardener, but I do love gardens.”
She also loves tequila (“it’s my drink of choice”), which is why Scott’s has created “The VB”, a straight-up 1942 Don Julio enlivened with a special ice cube. Can an ice cube be special? Apparently so. “I was very specific about the ice cube. It had to be giant. They’re actually very difficult to make, those ice cubes. But really chic.” Another cocktail is called “the Vicky 36”. Really? In the pantheon of Victorias, she surely falls into the camp who gets annoyed whenever anyone calls her Vicky. Certainly I would never dream of doing so.
“Thank goodness. My mum used to say ‘If you allow people to call you Vicky, you can never go back to being Victoria.’ She hated names being shortened. So I was never a Vicky. But I love to poke fun at myself, and the name made me laugh.”
I ask how she feels about David’s recent appointment as the rather grandly titled ambassadorial president of the British Fashion Council. What will she be telling him to do? “I won’t be telling him to do anything,” she says. “I’m really proud of him for doing this. David has a huge profile, and I think he can raise awareness of young talent. On an international level, he has an enormous amount to bring to the table. He seems to be enjoying it so far. He wants to help, and I think he’ll do everything and more that they hope he will do.”
David has spoken about how their children are growing up in a more affluent way than he and Victoria did. How do they instill a work ethic?
“It’s never been an option not to work hard. They see mummy go to work, they see daddy go to work, and they go to school and they have to work. But at the same time they’re happy children. I believe that children should be children, and have fun. I like to push them because I want them to achieve as much as they can, but I don’t want to push them so much that it makes them overly stressed. No child wants to do homework. As parents, we’ve always got to give them a kick up the bum. That’s our job. I’m not saying they love doing it — they don’t— but it’s compulsory.”
Six-year-old Harper sounds particularly studious. “She gets up early, does her spelling, does her Kumon,” Beckham says fondly. “She works hard, but she’s a happy little girl. She’ll make me a coffee, and write me these little notes like ‘Mummy, I love you with all my heart.’”
She recently posted an Instagram story showing Harper singing along to The Greatest Showman. “She loves it. She said to me the other day ‘Mummy, you know the bearded lady? She actually does have a beard. She just shaves it off every day.’” Never mind beards: Harper’s plaits should have their own Instagram account. Perhaps they already do. Does she wear them every day? “When we’re in the country, she has country hair. She doesn’t even want to brush it — she just lets it all hang out.”
In September she will show her spring 2019 collection at London Fashion Week, a sort of homecoming to mark her brand’s tenth anniversary, after showing in New York. “I’m a little bit nervous, but excited. We haven’t found a venue yet. But I couldn’t think of anywhere better to celebrate. This is my home.”
Victoria Beckham’s terrace at Scott’s restaurant is open from today scotts-restaurant.com