Stella McCartney’s soundtrack announced her mood, over and over in case you missed it: She feels so f–king good. Apparently, so do many of the planet’s inhabitants — literally. Videos of countless copulating species (our own not included) covered the already highly decorated walls of McCartney’s show venue at the Opera Garnier. The message was either one of hope for Mother Earth or, “Hey, if we’re headed for extinction, let’s have a mother of a good time now.”
As for Stella, she should be feeling good. Long a lone-wolf champion of ethical/sustainable practices, she has seen much of the industry pivot in her direction on the environment, and, less completely but still significantly, animals. She joined the LVMH stable earlier this year with a role beyond her own brand, as a special adviser to Bernard Arnault and the group’s executive committee on sustainability. Which makes sense because from Day One, she has more than talked the talk. The card on the seats at her show didn’t mention her seasonal inspiration; that would come later via e-mail. Instead, it cited McCartney’s invitation for others “to join me in this fight, feeling encouraged and hopeful, fearless,” and a timeline of the steps her brand has taken to become more sustainable.
This collection is her brand’s most sustainable ever. Which makes two reasons for her f–king good mood. The first: The lineup looked beautiful, “inspired by all of the fierce women, past, present and future, who aren’t afraid to make the world their own. The free spirits, the wild ones, the artists and the risk takers.”
While some designers might take that starting point in a madcap direction, McCartney is too much the pragmatist. She believes that the women she described, those unafraid to make the world their own, have a big job on their hands, and scant time for sartorial silliness. She prefers chic reality, delivered for spring with plenty of flourish.
McCartney is a stickler for nuance of cut. Here, she focused on circular motifs, maybe as tangible reference to the goal of a circular production system or maybe because it seemed like a good idea. It was, and looked great in rounded skirts and shirts with big full sleeves that worked a capelike effect. These were sometimes finished with embroidered petal edging, one of the collections theme’s and a lovely touch.
Not everything went in circles. A range of stripes made various graphic impressions; from classic, as in a chic, pantsuit, to the urban cool of a shirt with bold two-way stripes tucked into a straight hipster skirt cut from a more traditional pattern. Dresses, too, were diverse, some cut for romantic flou and some in chic, spare lines. Evening worked a casual refinement. Among the standouts: a one-shoulder floral gown with pink piping.
The stripes and florals crossed over into men’s wear. Yet McCartney Saville Row roots run deep, and she also showed a perfectly cut suit. Was its color more environmental messaging? Maybe. It was the shade of the sky on a crisp, clear spring day.