Energy. Movement. Function. Utility. Those words, pulled from Stella McCartney’s show notes, sum up her overall ethos. For fall, she put them into motion with her usual pragmatism and no small level of flamboyance.
There were embroideries offbeat to the point of daring, infusing the urbane collection with a touch of the artisan hand. Brash zippers swirled and twirled into all kinds of pattern play on tailored pieces; a serious, shapely coat took on a defiant whimsy while the mirror-image ripples and shooting-star streaks across a slim jacket and pants looked more contrived. Bright-hued mountaineer cording did the decorative honors on more casual, meaty tweeds. At times, McCartney delivered the hand-hewn message with Shibori prints, as with an interesting trench and pantsuit, and a beautifully cut navy, marine and white dress with a gracefully billowing back.
Appealing though it was, craftiness isn’t for everyone, and McCartney offered wise respites from such flourishes, including a pair of terrific pantsuits, one green, one burgundy. Not quite classic, these featured her pants du jour — sleek, stirrup trousers which bared an arc of ankle above a sensible shoe, square-toed on a wooden platform (sustainable, of course) of very manageable height.
On the sportier side, her parkas looked great, in black with free-form quilting that mimicked the embroideries, and she added an engaging element to the season’s near-obsession with sweater-dressing: giant thick-knit cross-body bags knotted on the shoulder over matching dresses and a sweater-with-pants combo. Evening was all about the contrasting shades of rich-toned fringe festooned around the body in a manner both sensual and relaxed — a wonderfully racy combination.