I’m going to show my age here for a moment.
“Selfies” are a big deal in social media any more, but Stella McCartney was in one long before most people. There is a picture forever stuck in my brain, probably circa 1973 or so, of a very, very tiny Stella being held by her dad, Paul, while her mom, Linda, an outstanding photographer in her own right, stands behind them taking the picture in the mirror. I doubt Linda realized she was starting a trend, but she was very much aware of the degree to which she influenced Stella and her siblings. Today, more than any collection I can remember, I saw that influence played out strongly in a fun, flirty, and musically cosmic fall/winter collection that is reminiscent of all those old photos of the McCartney family out playing and having fun.
There is definitely a strong 1970-80s influence, from when Stella was growing up, in this collection. Let’s start with the stirrup pants, shall we? I have to admit, I was a little surprised to see those coming down the runway at me, but at least the gold applique designs on the pants and jackets kept the styles fun, and the materials are soft. That blue jumper, though … yeah, I had to giggle a little bit.
A very sporty collection, Stella mixes both feminine and masculine looks this season and does so very well. I’ve often accused her of raiding her dad’s wardrobe for her masculine looks, especially with her suits, and to some degree that continues. However, there are a lot of over-sized knits here that are more reminiscent of Linda and her softer side. There’s one particular look worn this morning by Cara Delevigne (IMG) that looks a bit like a sweater wrapped in a sweater, almost as though one is being hugged by an invisible person. Given how much Stella talks of her late mum, how could one not read some parently influence into that design?
Loose knits factor heavily throughout the collection, some allowed to just flow open and breeze, others tied at the waist with what almost appears to be an extra set of sleeves as though there were a sweater tied there, but there’s no sweater. The look is snuggly and casual. Roped applique factors dominantly early on, but the knits take on more sewn-in designs that are somewhat colorful and lively, in a muted, British sort of way. Fringe factors in toward the end of the collection and some of those looks are quite short, which is a dramatic contrast to the rest of the collection. Think, though, that fall is when children return from summer sports to indoor activities such as ballet lessons, in which case the looks make perfect sense.
All the way through, one gets the sense that, again channeling a family photo, Stella is taking us for a family romp in the park, playing in the fallen leaves. Everything here speaks of fun, right down to the finale led by Ms. Delevigne and Joan Smalls (IMG) dancing their way down the catwalk. As Stella turned from making her obligatory bow, her own four children came barreling from backstage, full of the same fun and energy she had with her three siblings some 40-odd years ago.
A lot is being said this season about celebrities. Let me take this opportunity to remark that there are celebrities and there are legends. Those sitting on the front row this morning might be celebrities, but the McCartneys are legends and the difference is striking.