A mother of four little ones under the age of six, who designed this collection partly during whatever sliver of time constituted her maternity leave, Stella McCartney knows how to compartmentalize. She’s a modern, practical woman who likes her fashion that way too: high style sans fuss, yet with plenty of diversity as suits her moods and needs. If that approach made for a slightly disjoined fall collection, it was one filled with terrific clothes.
By day, McCartney opted for simplicity. She opened with a new sculptural shape, focused the attention on a full, rounded sleeve falling from a dropped shoulder. This expressed volume while keeping the line of pleated dresses, as well as a blouse worn with pants, lean. Volume continued more demonstratively in mannish coats and jackets based on the smoking, and fabulous knits that swung utterly cozy (a big, slouchy off-white sweater over wide ivory pants) or casually soigné (a long black sweater dress). When McCartney went more decorative it was with golden effects. While her crumpled foil print felt strained, actual shiny foil bonded onto wool gave sturdy tunics an appealing flamboyance.
As for compartmentalizing, it’s clear that McCartney believes in unfettered days. Evening, however, was a different matter all together. Here, she let sexy rule via a delightful dot motif. It came two ways: in matte fabric paillettes, as in a saucy Sixties-ish trapeze, and hand-embroidered onto tulle that was layered with, or inset into black. Here, peplum tops over pants projected quirky charm, while a dotted tulle sleeve and panel snaking down one side of an hourglass dress made for the stuff of pure seduction.