British designer Stella McCartney completed her whirlwind tour of east Asia Friday night by hosting a cocktail party in a Qing dynasty courtyard on the banks of Beijing’s famous Qianhai Lake.
McCartney’s trip to China was intended to boost awareness of her brand at a time when Chinese luxury shoppers are keen to try more niche, less ostentatious, labels.
“Our plan for China is to develop here and have a stronger relationship with the women of this county,” McCartney told WWD.
She feels her clothes bags and shoes, none of which use fur or leather, appeal to the increasing numbers of Chinese, especially amongst the wealthy, who are worried about the environment.
“There is a side of the Chinese market that wants more sustainability, more ethical practice,” she said.
As well as showing her spring ready-to-wear collection, McCartney used the Beijing event to preview her spring lingerie and kids lines, and her collection for Adidas, which was modeled by a group of spinners and yoga and aerobics practitioners.
The Adidas collection had a retro, Eighties feel to it and made heavy use of pale gray, orange, cobalt blue and cherry red.
The children’s clothes included a rah-rah-skirt dress made of cream netting emblazoned with rainbow-colored dots and a little red jacket reminiscent of that worn by her father, Paul McCartney, on the cover of the Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” album.
The label is opening two shops in China this year and is looking to open more in Beijing, Shanghai and other cities in the coming years, said Frederick Lukoff, chief executive officer.
“At the moment we are focusing on first-tier cities. I don’t think we have exhausted our potential in Beijing, for example,” he said.
However, he pointed out that the brand was not focusing just on China.
“As a young brand, we are trying to grow everywhere,” he said. “Our expansion in China is part of our global growth.”
Hence the two other stops on McCartney’s east Asia tour — Hong Kong and Japan.
On Thursday, McCartney gave a talk at Aoyama Gakuin University, which she said was an educational experience for her as well.
“It was very interesting in that I’m starting to have an understanding that women feel that they maybe have a lot of work to do in this part of the world to just have a voice, and so it was interesting to be able to speak and be part of that and to hopefully inspire the next generation of business fashion people,” she said.
That same evening, the designer hosted a rooftop garden party at Tokyo’s Roppongi Hills complex. Models decked out in the designer’s resort collection took part in hula-hooping, croquet and mock fishing in a small pond in the garden. Guests dined on chips and shaved ice, drank cold beer and listened to the three-piece band that played throughout the party.
In between these commitments, McCartney also had a chance to check out her new store space, which is due to open in February in Tokyo’s Aoyama district. As reported, the brand is relocating its existing shop in the area.
“It’s so exciting, but it’s funny for me because when I first came to Tokyo when I was a kid and I knew I wanted to be a fashion designer, I went to stores on that strip, and now it is just crazy for me to think that I’m going to have my own store in such a fantastic location,” she said.