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On Thursday night at Lincoln Center, Stella McCartney explained what it was like to work with her father.

“‘Easy’ wouldn’t be the first word that jumped to mind,” the designer laughed of her latest project: designing the costumes for “Ocean’s Kingdom,” a ballet whose musical score was written by her rock-star patriarch. Her previous collaborations with Adidas had helped in making the activewear, she explained, but that wasn’t the point.

This story first appeared in the September 26, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“I don’t think many girls get to work with their fathers ever really, let alone here at Lincoln Center for the New York City Ballet, and to collaborate with Peter Martins and everything. So, yes, that was pretty much a dream,” McCartney said, before stopping to greet Liv Tyler, who knows a thing or two about the subject.

The red carpet outside the David Koch Theater and the marquee that had been assembled for dinner was mobbed with McCartney fans, who waited for more than an hour for a glimpse of the Beatle. The late-arriving McCartney was in good company for the performance and accompanying fete, with Sarah Jessica Parker and Naomi Watts sitting in the same row, and Alec Baldwin as a co-host. Also on hand were Arie and Coco Kopelman, Steve Buscemi, Gilles Mendel, Andrew Garfield and Brady Corbet, Anjelica Huston and Ralph Lauren, who was accompanied by his entire family.

Before the ballet began, cocktails were served on the second floor of the theater in a cordoned-off area separated by the velvet ropes favored by nightclub bouncers. An elderly man appeared to be sleeping sitting down in a chair within this area, his cane resting loosely in one hand.

“I don’t think it would be so great, watching this performance, if you were Paul McCartney,” the man offered, when roused by ushers to enter the theater. “Everyone’s watching you watching it.”

The prediction turned out to be true. As the night progressed, a lengthy introduction to the production had every head in the orchestra section whipping around at mention of “Sir Paul,” who would either bow sagely, waving a bit, or remain seated, grinning gamely. In the tradition of George Balanchine, who toasted visiting maestros with shots of vodka, Martins teased McCartney by gulping from a teacup.

“I thought about warning you,” Martins said of the toast, “but then I decided I wouldn’t.”

To close the introduction, the ballet’s music director Fayçal Karoui attempted to explain the intricacies of McCartney’s efforts with the music.

“Sir Paul is a genius, and you’ll see very soon what I mean,” Karoui said. “You know how a joke is never as funny if someone explains it to you? Music is the same way.”

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