Perhaps more than anyone else in fashion, Stella McCartney is the woman she designs for: someone with a high-responsibility, high-stress career who’s a hands-on mom to, in her case, three young children with one on the way. She’s also half-American, a fact of which she sometimes reminds people and one pertinent here, as the collection she showed on Monday morning felt very American.


Which is to say it was about good-looking, practical chic. Though long McCartney’s professional raison d’être, for spring she delivered the message in ultrapure form, without the just-right editorial flourish she typically sprinkles on. If so deliberate a focus made the show itself a bit flat, there were plenty of strong clothes to wear. McCartney manipulated her signature tailoring in an interesting manner, on the one hand stressing the mannish shape by loosening the jacket away from the body and on the other, working from a palette of gentle pastels and pairing suits with girly polo knits. There was a hint of grown-up preppy to her denims, cut for smart polish in crisp, sturdy shapes such as a dropped-shoulder chemise dress, walking shorts, a blazer. For evening, she proposed polite shows of skin in silk print dresses covered on top, their skirts double-slit thigh-high, and in a reworking of the jacket into sleeveless, backless smokings. As for shoes, put McCartney in spring’s increasingly impressive comfort camp with a proposal of terrific faux-leather sandals on stacked heels in two heights.


Yet not all was sedate. McCartney added vibrant jolts with a bright yellow poncho and a megacitric print — lemons, limes, oranges, big as could be. One exiting fashion editor quipped that between McCartney and Prada, spring now offers a fruit salad of chic. At least for those who dare to wear their fashion with a side order of fun.

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