Victoria Beckham chats with Vanessa Friedman about being a working mother in charge of a growing fashion label at her office in the Battersea area of South London.
Watch the interview and answer the questions below. The activity is suitable for Intermediate 2 and Advanced students.
1 What is people's reaction when they visit her office?
2 How big was her office when she first started in the business?
3 Who tried on the clothes at that time?
4 What does '150' refer to?
5 How well does Victoria draw?
6 What is Victoria's fashion message?
7 When does she usually get home in the evening?
You know, it’s always been about David playing football, watching David. It wasn’t until they first came to the show a few seasons ago that they actually realised that mummy does have a proper job.
(1) People often are quite surprised when they come in here. They probably expect something much more glamorous. It’s just not really about that for me here, you know, a lot of work goes on here.
When I first started working (2) I had a really small room over the other side. It was tiny. It was really, really tiny and just three people, just saying, okay, what do we want, (3) and me literally in my knickers putting on the clothes saying, how do I feel, how do I look, how is a woman going to feel in this and I still do that now. It’s still very important to me that I put on the clothes.
And just as we’ve grown, the team has grown and (4) we have about 150 people now working, and though I enjoy being here, you know, it’s going to be physically impossible for us to spend that much more time here.
We like to play a lot, you know. (5) I don’t draw, so I’m very hands-on. That’s how I create with my team. It’s not going from a sketch to a finished garment, it’s going from a basic shape and playing.
You know, I think it’s better if we fix this, but then we make it so that people can actually open the bow.
My office is clean, minimal. I haven’t really done a lot with it to be honest with you. I just wanted to keep it really neutral, so it was all about the clothes and this is about as much I’m going to call it junk chunks chops... if you like it. So we went to Elton John’s wedding at Christmas and the children made these snow globes, and then they made this one here of myself and David.
I have a very specific eye I know how I think things should look and how I think things should feel, and I’m always thinking about my customer. Then I also want to, I want to play a little as well, you know, I want to experiment, (6) I want to have a strong fashion message, I want to surprise people.
We’re going to make this shirt a little bit smaller, won’t we? I think the problem with it with someone who’s not so broad is because of these dropped shoulders, it just look enormous, doesn’t it?
We started going a little store-crazy after about four o’clock in the afternoon if we’ve been locked in here. I always complain, and say, I’m locked in this room and then I realise, well actually I’m the one that’s locked us in this room, so it’s my fault.
(7) I try to get home before the kids go to bed, but sometimes I’m here until really late, if it's the lead up to the show and I’ve spoken to Diane von Fürstenberg about it actually, I said, Diane, you know, you’ve always worked, and you had children, did you feel guilty? And she said, never. And good, you're right, actually. She said, I’m a great mum but I go to work. End of, you know.