Stella McCartney is a fashion pragmatist — no runway indulgences for her. Only chic, real-dressing options for women, and now, men.
Brava! — a laudable philosophy, and more resonant than ever when it comes to McCartney’s relationship with her female customers, given the cultural moment and the fact that, 30-plus years after Donna Karan brought the concept of a designer talking woman-to-woman into the forefront of fashion, there are still woefully few women helming major houses.
However, the runway transmission of McCartney’s solutions-based ethos can sometimes lack excitement. That happened here in a collection low on thrall factor yet replete with smart, stylish clothes. As always, McCartney worked oppositional forces with casual charm, her program notes flagging a fusion of “strength and softness…the bold and the feminine.” While the collection wasn’t gender-neutral, some themes went both ways, namely, pale-toned suits that worked an offbeat dichotomy of ease and austerity; a gentle tie-die motif and some flower sightings. A timely utilitarian thread got a nifty touch — vertical zippers on cargo pants that opened up for an interesting ripple effect. That hardware crossed over with a touch of unexpected edge to the soft side, with zippers adding and subtracting volume to Screen Siren slip dresses. Also in charming opposition: a delicate lingerie top tucked into meaty sweater-knit pajama pants.
Though never out-there with her fashion, McCartney is otherwise intrepid in a manner that has made her one of the most influential people in the industry. To her, the environmental impact of her clothes is as important as their look, and she used her show notes to reference the inclusion of organic cottons, recycled nylon and sustainable viscose, the last for an alluring silvery metallic gown with billowing sleeves. The dress offered twinkling testimony to McCartney’s conviction that responsible fashion has a place everywhere, red carpet included.