Every Monday morning of Paris Fashion Week, it’s the Stella McCartney show. The fashion industry heads to the magnificent Paris Opera, where tea, coffee and croissants await, along with a pile-up of rich and famous - Sir Paul and Nancy, La Moss and Mario Testino, Salma Hayek and Francois-Henri Pinault, Natalia Vodianova and M.I.A. The atmosphere is abuzz, expectations run high with editors eager to plan their personal wardrobes as well as next season’s pages.
And Stella always delivers, makes good her promise to her Stella woman, by providing that magic mix of editorial-worthy Fashion and real clothes. A touch of fantasy and a whole lot of reality are embedded in her designs.
And influence. Surely if any designer has influenced fashion’s current obsession with sportswear, it’s Stella. As a designer, she owns sport – and as if to stamp her authority on the subject, British medal-winning Olympians, Louis Smith, Ellie Simmonds and Victoria Pendleton were all sitting front row.
What she showed was direct and directional. Her latest idea, that ran through day into evening: Layered silk organza pleats, cut into long sheaths, that had a sporty athletic ease to them, with muscular punches of colour – neon orange and bold green. Then she built around these with solid tailoring – a khaki short-sleeved jacket or a narrow coat that belted low, below the hip, or a simple wide-shouldered white trouser suit.
The print – modelled to perfection by Karlie Kloss – was a grey/black leopard spot and dot confection on a loose blouse and slouchy trousers, hemmed with a fine layer of white chiffon, that drew attention to the new Stella shoe: a Perspex heeled sandal – ‘high, but not painfully high,’ she said.
For evening she showed how those sporty pleats could work in a delicate print – the effect was light and feminine – and sat well with the Broderie Anglaise lace looks, their girlishness tempered by the strong boyish shapes.
‘It was a conversation about masculine and feminine. That’s the Stella woman, she’s a real mix of the two,’ explained McCartney backstage.
Look out, Stella Woman, you just got yourself a dream wardrobe.