Victoria Beckham Taught Us the Meaning of Posh

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Photo: Venturelli/Getty Images

Leave it to Victoria Beckham to educate a crowd on the etymology of the word posh. Last night at Fern Mallis’s Fashion Icons series at the 92nd Street Y, Beckham explained the the term dates back to “when people used to travel abroad on boats and it stood for Port Out and Starboard Home.” (Now you know.)  She’s since embraced her association with the word, and was refreshingly up for talking about her pop past, even joking about some of the more embarrassing moments along the way. The designer, who is as cheekily self-deprecating as she seems on Instagram, also chatted about the evolution of her business, which has transcended all the expectations of a celebrity fashion line. Now that she’s clinched a British Fashion Award, Beckham is planning on opening her second store, in Hong Kong, and promises that a New York outpost is on the distant horizon. Here, some highlights from her talk, from Girl Power–era PVC catsuits to those Marc Jacobs ads.

On her oh-so-’80s childhood obsession, the movie Fame:
“I had a velour duck suit that was blue and it had ‘FAME’ written on it in gold, and my sister had the same suit, but in red. And I had the sticker books.”

On her Spice Girls audition and the early days of the group:
“Everybody except me sang pop songs, but I sang, I think I sang ‘Mein Herr’ from Cabaret. Really, really not the right thing to do, but it got me in the group. I mean it was very dramatic. That video is out there. You won’t have to search very hard. We were going to be [called] the Spicy Girls at one point. But then we found out that there was a porn site called the Spicy Girls. So they had to change it because … obviously.”

On her tour wardrobe struggles:
“I actually found out I was pregnant in New York. We were on tour at the time in America and we were performing in lots of amphitheaters. I remember it was really, really hot and I was wearing a PVC catsuit and a wig because my hair was out of control. I was getting bigger and bigger and bigger and I was still wearing a PVC catsuit. So it was quite tough being on tour and being pregnant. And every night I would come offstage and I’d say to the manager, ‘I can’t go on, what happens if I say I can’t do this anymore.’ And every night he said, ‘You will get sued. Get back in that costume.’”

On making her runway debut in the Roberto Cavalli show in 2006:
“I remember calling my mom and saying, ‘I’m really nervous, I’m going to be walking in this fashion show.’ And her telling me, ‘You’ve been walking for 30 years, if you haven’t got it together now, then … get to it.’”

On her future plans:
“I’d like to work on clothing pricing and I’d like to reach more people, and I would like to offer clothes to people who don’t want to pay designer prices. I would love to do something like [an H&M collaboration]. I want to reach out to that customer.”

On the 2008 Marc Jacobs campaign that showed her hiding inside a shopping bag:
“It was really fun. I love Marc. At the time I don’t think that I realized that he was poking fun. That’s cool, because it shows that I don’t take myself too seriously.”

On who she would love to meet:
“Hillary Clinton. I would love to meet her, I would love to dress her.”

Victoria Beckham Taught Us the Meaning of Posh