Last season, Stella McCartney celebrated her love of animals with projections of various pairings in the act of copulation. This season she took a less intrusive approach, enlisting a bevy of cuddly costumed characters — bunny, cow, fox — to greet her guests upon arrival and offer each the gift of a sapling to take home and plant. (Many who will be traveling back home declined the lovely gesture; coronavirus questions may prove enough of a hurdle at Customs.)
On the runway, McCartney waved good-bye to cute, at least until the finale, when the animals reappeared. Until then, the collection was inspired, her program notes said, “By strong-willed women grounded in reality with a free spirit. They are the fearless, the pioneers, the disruptors, the visionaries — ready to express themselves and make a statement, fashion or otherwise.” One could call this season’s fashion statement abundant chic, as she filled her lineup with ample proportions, intense detailing and high-interest surface treatments. These included big, shaggy knits and faux shearling, lattice overlays for evening, perforated vegan leather (yes, it’s PVC-free), demonstrative lumberjack plaids and prints done in collaboration with the Erté archive. McCartney’s show notes state that she met the famed fashion-loving artist as a child. The prints she used had a characteristically Deco feeling, and one could see a touch of the Twenties in a range of lovely dresses, some with unfussy vertical ruffles. Or maybe it was the power of suggestion, because McCartney beautifully adapted the patterns to her aesthetic.
That aesthetic typically manifests in a dialogue between feminine and masculine, the latter expressed here via strong tailoring. A terrific gray pantsuit with one-button jacket had slouchy appeal, while coats with deep funnel collars projected a non-specific military vibe. This look crossed over to the men’s wear, as did the bold plaids. Also for women and men: big, flat animal broaches in gold and silver, a delightful, witty expression of McCartney’s animal-loving ethos.