As Stella McCartney enters her fourth year of collaborating with Adidas, the designer line continues to grow, with sales increasing nearly 20 percent annually in approximately 600 doors worldwide. Although the spring season doesn’t add another sports category, it uses color differently than in the past and for the first time the look book was shot in New York, partially to reflect the season’s urban focus. Adidas by Stella McCartney also has signed a new brand ambassador: Tracy Anderson, personal trainer to Madonna, Gwyneth Paltrow and the designer herself. “For me it’s really important to wear products that look stylish and can actually perform,” Anderson said. McCartney discussed her spring Adidas collection with WWD in advance of its unveiling today at the Royal Horticultural Halls in Central London.
WWD: What was your inspiration for the spring season?
Stella McCartney: For the spring line, we really wanted to be more urban-inspired. We’re more looking at city exercise and the demands that has on a sports collection. When you are working out in the city, you are more on display, and we included more edgy pieces with an athletic edge and were more punchy with color.
WWD: Is that why you decided to shoot the look book in New York?
S.M.: I have images as a child of watching people jog around Central Park. I’m half American, of course, and the American side of the family were always the jocks and athletes. One of our strongest categories is running, and New York is the land of the jogger.
WWD: You used color quite differently this round, with more bright pops of green and purple.
S.M.: I can never get away from my love of fleshy tones, it’s something I am always drawn to. But we’ve always liked our highlight colors, and this time we made more highlight punchy stuff. But the yoga pieces are still fleshy, which is where those colors belong.
WWD: What do you hope Tracy Anderson will add to the brand?
S.M.: We have quite a lot of athletes and sponsors we work with, but Tracy is taking us to a different area. When you focus on sport, it can sometimes focus too much on the peak of physical fitness for the athlete, but sometimes it is nice to make it slightly more real. At the end of the day, these clothes are being bought by women who work out. I wanted someone who talks to these real women regularly and who can be sympathetic with them. Tracy can turn around someone’s body.
WWD: What do you do to work out?
S.M.: I’m a really fickle workout girl. I like to do it without too much equipment and to be able to do it in any location. I work out with Tracy, I do Pilates, I ride horses, I swim. And I also run after three children.
WWD: You haven’t added new categories for the past two seasons. Is the line complete now, or do you see adding more categories going forward?
S.M.: There are millions of things we still want to do, but we always have to wait a season. They say, “No, that’s a summer sport, Stella….”
WWD: Adidas by Stella McCartney seems to have impacted the way Adidas and other active companies approach design and femininity in activewear. What is your goal with the brand?
S.M.: My big dream for the Adidas collaboration is to give women performance garments that they look great in, but not sacrifice design. We’ve been doing it for a while, and strangely enough, I thought people would copy us faster and better, but I think we still own the area.
WWD: Do you hope to keep it niche or would you like to see it grow?
S.M.: Of course we want it to grow. It grows every season. But the more we look into the distribution channels, the more we realize it’s limited. We want to keep the brand at a certain standard and we don’t want to lose the performance focus of it, and there aren’t a huge amount of channels for it. We’re not trying to take over the world with it, or cheapen the brand by taking it everywhere.
WWD: Do you plan to extend your contract when it comes up?
S.M.: This is long-term for us. It’s really part of our brand. We don’t look at it as something outside the brand lifestyle — we would feel like there is a huge hole in the Stella McCartney brand if we didn’t have this. Now we have lingerie and skin care — we are catering for a lifestyle — and while not everyone wears cocktail dresses, everyone can work out.