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LONDON — Having virtually sold out on its debut at retail in the U.S. and Japan, activewear label Adidas by Stella McCartney has great expectations for its second season as it pushes further into Europe and Asia this fall.
“Spring was amazingly well received,” Stella McCartney said in an exclusive interview Tuesday. “They were reordering at Bloomingdale’s and people were queuing in Japan. It made perfect sense to me from Day One. I just can’t quite believe it’s not been done before.”
The label, which McCartney designs with an Adidas team who specializes in high-tech fabrics, saw 95 percent of the spring collection sell out at Bloomingdale’s within 24 hours of hitting the shelves, while Nordstrom presold the collection before it had arrived in the store. At Isetan in Tokyo, stock was gone within three days.
The new 99-piece clothing, footwear and accessories collection will be fully available in Europe and Asia beginning Aug. 17, rolling out from only 19 selected Adidas stores in Europe currently stocking the spring line. Prices range from 20 pounds, or $38 at current exchange, to 240 pounds, or $456.
“Winter has been more of a challenge; it’s limiting as there are less sports,” said McCartney, who chose to add trail running, Nordic walking and climbing to a portfolio that already covers running, gym and swimwear. “We addressed outdoor sports as we wanted to get women out of the gym and into the fresh air. I want to encourage exercise and for me, it’s experiencing the natural side of it as well. I grew up riding, swimming outside, skiing and with long walks with dogs.”
Michael Michalsky, global creative director of Adidas-Salomon AG, agreed. “We’ve noticed that, contrary to popular belief, women don’t stay in as soon as the weather gets cold and messy,” he said. “Nordic walking is emerging as a big trend in Europe and women don’t want to stay safe and warm in their yoga classes anymore.”
So with warmth and practicality vital to the collection, protective neck shields, well-insulated yet lightweight nylons and elastics that keep in air and heat are added to running jackets with built-in mittens and padded jackets. McCartney was determined to use fleece and thermal fabrics in stylish ways, resulting in rose-colored fleecy legwarmers and snug-fitting hooded sweatshirts.
This story first appeared in the April 27, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
A padded gray jacket, priced at 200 pounds, or $381, is McCartney’s predicted bestseller. “The collar can be pushed down on the D-rings or wrapped up around you,” she said, while Michalsky added that it is “sexy and interesting with fantastic proportions, unlike the typical Michelin Man designs out there.”
McCartney, whose line is for the sport performance division of Adidas, has continued to fuse fashion with technologically driven function for fall, and added aqua, flamingo and zesty shades to her signature palette of muted tones such as dusty rose, gray, chocolate, eggplant, copper, silver and gold.
“There’s no excuse for labels to be bashing out the same cheesy baby blues anymore,” said McCartney, adding that she also lends her expertise in detailing to the collection. “I’ve always liked finding that clothes are not just what you see and here there are lots of secrets to discover.”
Fashion details include red heart-shaped velcro fastenings, metallic D-rings and key chains as well as plenty of pockets. Case in point: the swim bag, priced at 90 pounds, or $171, in shades of bark and gray, has separate compartments for the bathing suit, goggles and leak-prone shampoos. “There’s nothing worse than having to put your smelly swimsuit into a plastic bag inside your sports bag,” said McCartney, a keen swimmer herself.
In addition to 68 apparel styles, there are 21 accessories and 10 footwear designs, including snow boots and a practical climbing shoe based on the look of a ballet slipper, complete with a ribbon trim. The designer also plans to carry limited-edition footwear in her stores in London, New York and Los Angeles.
McCartney and Adidas will showcase the new collection today at The Royal Horticultural Halls in London. Although distribution is selective, the offering will be the same worldwide. “It was very important for us to do a global range as our consumer is very cosmopolitan,” said Michalsky. “We have bought in a new kind of customer for Adidas and she is serious about sports and doesn’t want to be patronized. She’s very open to communication and knowledge so the designs are not a regional thing.”