Quite possibly the only person who hasn't been surprised by the success of Victoria Beckham
's new dress line is the celebrity designer herself. Back at the Waldorf Towers, where she's showing her 23-piece sophomore collection by appointment, she spoke just as earnestly about under-bust contouring, channel seaming, and zippers that unzip from top and bottom as she did last September. But these dresses look so well-made, so of-the-moment yet also timeless ("which is so important, especially these days," Beckham acknowledged) that they do the talking for her. The fits-like-a-glove sheath made a reappearance, this time in soft gray cashmere with little cap sleeves. New to the mix were short day dresses in black stretch wool felt, above-the-knee cocktail numbers in gold tinsel bouclé, and gowns in crepe or matte sequins with elegant trains. (Capes in felt or silk gazar were also a new category for Beckham, but they didn't quite have the need-it-now quality of her frocks.) The one-shoulder floor-grazing black gown with chenille and metallic details, or maybe the long-sleeved red marocain with grosgrain belt, should get shipped out to L.A., and quickly. The latter's padded shoulders and corseted waist could work their elongating, slimming magic on some lucky star come Oscar night.