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What Women Want: Victoria Beckham vs. Public School

At their fall 2015 collection shows on Sunday, Victoria Beckham, Public School and Thakoon made separate cases for modern dressing.
A look from Victoria Beckham's fall 2015 collection. Photo: Imaxtree

A look from Victoria Beckham's fall 2015 collection. Photo: Imaxtree

Like Diane von Furstenberg and Donna Karan before her, Victoria Beckham has positioned herself as a women's designer -- a designer who, as she stated in the show notes for her fall/winter 2015 collection, understands "what women want to wear and how they want their clothes to make them feel."

Looking at the collection, then, one can infer that women want to look tall, sleek and refined; sexy, too, but with the kind of sexy that comes in the form of expensive tailoring, a body-conscious dress with a high neck, and high-heeled boots, rather than exposed skin. They want their clothes to be simple, understated and tasteful, but still interesting -- a coat with a shoulder panel fastened by oversized buttons, a sweater with a billowing lower sleeve.

Public School, which showed directly after Beckham's show on Sunday morning, has an entirely different notion about how women want to dress. The collection marked Public School's one-year anniversary as both a menswear and a womenswear brand, and models of both sexes walked with an easy mobility in what has become known as "streetwear" -- cargo jackets, loose-legged pants and high-top sneakers inspired by California's skate and surf communities. There was an element of grunge in the form of long plaid dresses and skirts in gray and navy. Perhaps because of the bitter cold outside, editors were especially taken with the label's cream and beige calf-length poncho. And lest we think Public School is only good for casual wear, the designers ended the show with an elegant, yet still invitingly comfortable, black leather and wool v-neck dress that could easily be dressed up for a formal occasion.

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And then there was Thakoon, which had one of the best collections I've seen so far. Unlike Alexander Wang, with his black, sporty cuts and technical fabrics, or Joseph Altuzarra, with his thigh-high slits and Romanian blouses, Thakoon Panichgul's signatures are not as specific (and thus recognizable) -- but he does consistently great clothes. For fall 2015, he showed a wide range of rich, sometimes exotic-looking pieces, beginning with a series of striped, psychedelic knits in contrasting hues. Then came coats and floor-length dresses in dark wheat and burgundy ombre, as well as fat shearling stoles and ponchos. 

Later in the collection, he introduced coats and dresses decorated with squares of floral sequin embroidery and black dresses with deep v-necks, some styled over thin red or burgundy knits. The offering was eclectic, but held together with a tight palette and repeating shapes and materials, like the aforementioned v-necks and shearling.

It's good to see that women have options.