On Monday night in London, a Scottish piper played outside a party hosted by Stella McCartney, begging the question: Where does the designer come down on the question of Scottish independence?
“I want to keep Scotland,” she said. “I was married in Scotland and I spent the majority of my childhood growing up on our farm there. I have an absolute love affair with Scotland and I guess [the piper] is my little nod of appreciation to them.”
Politics was not the only cause on McCartney’s mind. She was also showcasing her latest collection for Livia Firth’s Green Carpet Challenge campaign, an initiative that encourages designers to produce eco-friendly looks for the red carpet. McCartney’s 13 eveningwear looks were divided in two parts — one, an exercise in hand-screen-printed color-blocking, and the other made from a recycled floral print silk from her archive and organic cotton lace.
“The problem with luxury fashion is that it’s so isolated. There’s hundreds of thousands of meters of fabric that’s left over from [designer] collections and it just gets destroyed and I cannot get my head around it,” she said. Her ultimatum to her peers was a simple one: “Let’s recycle previous collections. The lovely thing about it is that it’s a kind of limited-edition, so when we run out of the material that will be it.”
Firth credited McCartney as “one of the first designers I worked with for the Green Carpet Challenge.”
The campaign from the Italian activist, who came with her Academy Award-winning husband Colin, drew other acolytes to the Royal Institution of Great Britain — Salma Hayek; Drew Barrymore; Rita Ora; Harvey Weinstein; André Balazs, who was taking a break from fielding questions about his buzzy Chiltern Firehouse hotel, and Natalie Massenet of Net-a-porter, which will carry McCartney’s collection.
The venue was divided into five themed rooms, each styled with reclaimed or recycled decor and props from U.K.-based film, TV and theater sets, including an English pub, an artists’ gallery where former students of The Prince’s Drawing School sat sketching live models wearing the collection and a forest created from greenery previously seen in the 2012 film production of “Les Misérables.” In a photographer’s studio, McCartney’s sister Mary was shooting part of the collection while father Paul wandered about. In another room, the Say Lou Lou twins — Miranda and Elektra Kilbey-Jansson — discussed their upcoming album, due for release in February.
“At first, our songs tended to be about love and heartache,” said Elektra, the blonde. “They were teenage songs. Basically I wanted to take my diary and turn it all into a song.” As the musical duo grew up, that changed. “Now inspiration comes from anywhere we find words that have meaning for us,” added Miranda, the brunette. “It could be a line in the FT or a phrase in a book.”
Colin Firth seemed to be taking it all in stride, his wife’s moment in the spotlight and his recent win as a British GQ’s Man of the Year, an award he shared with, among others, Balazs.
“If you’re a relatively style-challenged male, put your wardrobe in someone else’s hands as soon as possible,” he suggested to those wanting to up their sartorial game. “It’s worked wonders for my credibility.”