The tailoring was spot on: dark and pinstriped, recalling Stella’s tenure on Savile Row, but volumised, big, purposeful, confident.
This is Stella’s woman now, she explained backstage: ‘It was a redirection of Stella classics, things I do instinctively and effortlessly, so paying homage to Britain and its classic tailoring and inserting a new femininity, bringing a sensual woman into it all. These are clothes to slot into your wardrobe. When we were making this collection, I just kept thinking I want to wear that.’
The footwear said it all: strong, heavy shoes with a rubber tractor tyre sole, that grounded the daywear in reality, in the real clothes women want to wear. For evening, a veneered, architectural wooden heel and a sharper toe were Stella’s solution for her wardrobe of layered fluid silk, sometimes printed with ‘SKATE’, another nod to her British roots. ‘There’s a strength; we’re allowed to have an inner strength, it takes that to wear those shoes, that tailoring and tartan, an inner confidence.’
This collection summed up where Stella’s at right now and the Paris season so far with its honest approach and confident spirit, its reconfiguring of boy-meets-girl clothes.
It is hard to watch a Stella collection and not make it personal: I could wear that! That would go with such and such! This is me! So what were the pieces to crave? The broad shouldered coats and skater dresses, the striped knit dress over the kick-at-the-hem pinstriped calf-length skirt, the quilted pinstripe coat, the peaked caps, those polo-neck-cum-shoulder-shrugs, the sexy masculine charcoal pants, the knitted tracksuit, the tartan jeans jacket, the knit dress that spilled into a lace hem, the hot pink coat, modelled to perfection by Karlie Kloss.
Naturally, this being a Stella show there is always a sense of excitement, partly because it’s a celeb-filled scrum – Paul and Nancy, Bono and Ali, Jessica Alba, Natalia Vodianova – but really, aside from her father’s little dance as he walked Nancy down the runway to find their seats, this was entirely about the clothes. And what very desirable clothes they were too.