LADY BOSS: “I always enjoy meeting my ladies,” said Stella McCartney on Tuesday night. The designer was in Boston, at the city’s Saks Fifth Avenue store, for a trunk show. “Some houses look down on this part [of the business], but for me it’s exciting to meet the women I serve.”
As she expands her retail reach — next week she’ll be in Tokyo to open a new store — McCartney clearly sees that being “a woman designing for women” is a competitive advantage. Top clients, or as she put it “her ladies,” came not just from Boston, but from as far as Michigan and Ohio to talk vegan fashion and mull over the age-old question: how to branch out beyond black.
“There’s always one in every bunch who swears she can wear nothing but black,” said McCartney, sporting a jumpsuit patterned with multicolored pouncing tigers from her fall lineup. “But I’m quite a lover of color.”
Was she able to sell the “only-black” clientele some color? McCartney smirked. “Of course! But actually that part is embarrassing to me. I don’t want people to feel they have to buy. I’m interested in the psychology of the experience: what they like, what they’re looking for, how we fit a variety of physiques.”
The store had fall pieces available for preorder, including cropped denim printed with golden tigers and the shaggy wool Falabella bags, which proved to be the favorite.
McCartney is not only out to gather feedback, but to start a dialogue on the many ways to make one’s closet gentler on the planet. She’s inked a partnership with Patagonia shepherds for more sustainable, humane sources of wool. Her partnership with H&M on Clevercare labeling, which seeks to reduce water use, is part of her mission to cut down on the global laundry bill. According to McCartney, clothes, especially high-quality ones, do not need to be washed often.
“I learned this first from the Savile Row tailor where I was interning while I was studying at Central Saint Martins. They told me ‘Never wash or dry-clean your suits. It ruins the fabric.’”
Denim purists say the same — stick it in the freezer to freshen, instead of the washer.
“I never wash my denim,” McCartney said, joking that perhaps a no-wash Stella McCartney hair-care philosophy will be next.