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Stella Hits the Slopes

Stella McCartney presented her new fall line of Adidas by Stella McCartney on Monday, using scenic Aspen as a backdrop.

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ASPEN, Colo. — Stella McCartney presented her new fall line of Adidas by Stella McCartney here Monday, merging her signature feminine silhouettes and attention to detail with Adidas’ technology.

Ice-skaters wearing the new looks spun and twirled around a small ice-skating rink as reporters huddled outside the Elk Mountain Lodge in the remote Castle Creek Valley to view McCartney’s first foray into skiwear. Huskies pulled a sled with a young woman in it across the snow, skiers and snowboarders flew down a man-made hill and women walked and jogged in the snow. They all wore chic yet functional winter styles that epitomize the collaboration between Adidas and McCartney.

“I’ve been desperate to get some chic-looking skiwear,” said McCartney, who skis and snowboards. “I think it’s been missing. I’ve gone to buy ski clothes, and I’ve found it really difficult to find something I wanted to wear. Everything was always badly cut, and the fit was appalling. I don’t want to look like a man when I’m skiing. Something about it was always quite wrong to me.”

McCartney’s solution to that is ski pants and jackets in muted shades of rosewood, dark bone, dark chocolate and dusty rose. Key pieces from the line include a soft-shell jacket, a full-piece ski jumpsuit and a padded ski coat with a removable fleece vest, all featuring details such as pockets for MP3 players, cell phones, goggles and money, as well as ski-pass and lipstick holders.

McCartney also pointed to her version of the moon boot as another signature item. This two-in-one shoe has a booty inside the water-repellent shell that may be removed and worn by itself for après-ski footwear.

The designer said she chose Aspen for the launch because it “encapsulates the whole winter sports thing. I think of it as a very chic place … a romantic place.”

Skiwear has become more feminine and fashionable, and design houses such as Emilio Pucci and Paul Smith have gotten into the category.

In addition to the new ski looks, the collection also features more styles for the gym, running and tennis. The prices for the fall collection range from about $55 to $800, and it carries more higher-priced items than in the past. Globally, Adidas by Stella McCartney is in about 450 doors, with an estimated 100 of those in the U.S., including Nordstrom and Adidas sport performance stores.

“You see a lot of collaborations in the industry between brands and designers, but I don’t think they have the same vision Stella had for what we wanted to do,” Bill Sweeney, head of Adidas global apparel, said in a fireside chat after the presentation of the line. “And certainly, I don’t think they had the same commitment in terms of a long-term partnership. This is a serious commitment that takes us right though 2010.”

Sweeney was referring to the company’s contract extension with McCartney announced this week. The collection had first-year sales of about $15 million, industry experts said.

Sweeney said he anticipated that sales of this year’s fall line would double compared with last year.

“It’s really not about hitting the numbers,” he said. “We could probably sell 50 or 60 percent more in 2006 if we really wanted to, but at this point it’s more a case of keeping it in the right place, keeping it under control and keeping it well managed. This was never about making as much money as we can. It was about brand image and creating something different.”

The Aspen event also introduced 19-year-old Russian tennis player Maria Kirilenko as the face of the line. She was dressed in head-to-toe Stella McCartney and said she gives McCartney and the design team input on some of the styles and cuts, telling them what she feels most comfortable in when playing.

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