Editors claimed it was Stella McCartney's best ever show after her collection was unveiled at the National Opera in Paris today.
One expects a comfortable dose of masculine tailoring and soft cashmere layers from Stella, but for autumn winter 2011 she created an edgier silhouette less in tune with mass covetability, more in keeping with the skewed proportions and directional shapes of the season. As with Phoebe Philo's Celine show yesterday, Stella has taken her trademark and added the element of surprise.
This was introduced through stiff, pleated dropped shoulders reminiscent of Issey Miyake's Pleats Please line and armadillo arched backs. Tops and blazers came overblown and oversized with sculptured sleeves and exaggerated boyfriend shapes. Underneath was still the neat tailored trousers and pencil skirts of yester-season to ease us gently in to the new ideal. Knitwear dresses were made from boiled wool; the fabric appearing shrunken but the shape stretched.
For evening, there was a wonderful stream of dresses with polka dot paillettes hanging from either gauzy trapeze or clinging to body-con shapes. Sheer strips running the length of them cancels out the possibility of lingerie. If anyone can bring out your cheeky - or directional - side whilst pulling off the image of respectability, it's Stella.