Tradition dictates that Stella McCartney fly her resort operation to New York each season for a garden party presentation staged in charmingly festive fashion at some unexpected location. This time the East Village’s 19th-century Marble Cemetery fit the bill for Monday’s event. “I wanted to inject the collection with optimism,” said McCartney. “When spring comes, it’s a hopeful time of year and everything starts over.” She was not being ironic, though there was something amusingly absurd about watching models and high-profile friends, including Lauren Hutton and Emily Mortimer, literally dance on graves (10 feet under, a p.r. rep for McCartney assured, with headstones discreetly on the walls) to live music by the Soul Rebels Brass Band.
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The clothes were upbeat and pretty and the opposite of funeral, with strong colors woven into hot pink and gold floral jacquards on blazers and skirts, as well as the tuxedo stripe on soft ivory bell-bottoms. Terrific sweaters — one done in a sporty patchwork of neon ribbing, the other cleverly knitted from cut-up, twisted calico — were standouts in the daywear, which also included a head-to-toe leopard-print group, and a more mellow baby-blue-and-white tailored range. It was a great mix of sporty attitude and playful chic, carrying into eveningwear where McCartney crafted a unique layered look of sheer lace over fringed pieces in pop colors. Built out of simple T-shirts, tank dresses and trousers, the outfits were simple yet original.