LONDON — Stella McCartney’s celebrity-pulling machine kicked into overdrive at the opening of her first London store Thursday night. Guests stepping over the threshold at 30 Bruton Street included Madonna, Tom Ford, Valentino, Giancarlo Giammetti, Mario Testino and Tracey Emin — whose neon installation, Just Love Me, hangs on a wall in the store.
“I have so many butterflies, it’s all a bit scary, but I’m so excited,” said McCartney, who was dressed in a silvery-gray satin coat.
The store is the designer’s second unit after New York, which opened last September in the heart of the Meatpacking District. As reported, McCartney has signed a lease for her third store at 8823 Beverly Boulevard in West Hollywood, which will open this fall. Future units will likely be in Paris, Milan and Tokyo.
The 10,000-square-foot London store is housed in a four-story Georgian town house and has a fairy-tale, girlie feel to it. The ground floor walls and floor are decorated with marquetry images of an enchanted winter forest, complete with shadows, sun and a floating fairy.
The walls, inspired by illustrations from the early 1900s, also boast doors that pop out — “Alice in Wonderland” style — to reveal bags, shoes and other accessories.
At the back of the store, there is a glass-enclosed winter garden with its own maple tree. The walls of the shoe room next door are papered with a hand-printed monkey design fabric and festooned with tiny vintage trinkets including brooches, earrings and necklaces.
In an interview before the party, McCartney said the last thing she wanted was an intimidating and uncomfortable atmosphere. “There is nothing in this store that I wouldn’t have in my own home,” she said. “A lot of love has gone into this place, I think it’s very homey.”
She said the marquetry — a 17th-century decorative technique using carved and inlaid wood — reflects her love of the bespoke. “I like things that take time to create.”
Not surprisingly, partygoers loved what they saw.
“I love Stella, and I think the store is incredible,” said Ford, the creative director of Stella McCartney’s parent company Gucci Group. “It’s very mature, very grown up. I’m so proud of her. It’s just incredible.”Valentino described the interiors as a “fresh display,” while Testino called the store overwhelming. “Every room is just so different,” said London man-about-town Dan Macmillan.
The first floor, which houses the ready-to-wear collection, is less ornate than the ground floor and showcases the period restorations that McCartney and her team carried out. There are herringbone-paneled wooden floors and classical cornicing from the Georgian period.
The dressing rooms are covered with handblocked wallpaper — butterfly patterns in particular — that McCartney and her team designed.
The third floor is for VIP clients, and for McCartney’s tailoring service. McCartney has hired the Savile Row tailor Henry Rose to execute her designs for men and women. The service also marks McCartney’s first foray into men’s wear.
The third floor will also house a special room for McCartney’s first fragrance, which will launch in the fall.
McCartney’s company is 50 percent owned by Gucci, with the designer owning the other half. As with other Gucci subsidiaries, the company declined to forecast the store’s first-year sales. However, real estate sources estimate that the store, housed in the former Lefevre Gallery, should expect to generate between $4 million and $5 million in annual sales, based on the average sales of stores in the area.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast