Stella McCartney: Get your rocks off, sustainably
In an era -- and a fashion industry -- obsessed with sustainability, few designers and brands appear better placed to profit from and lead this movement than Stella McCartney, who staged her latest runway show in Paris on a sunny Monday morning.
McCartney has always put her money and effort where her mouth is and been a major activist for animal rights and the environment. She is apparently so determined that animals have a good time that she projected scores of video images of God’s creatures having sex on the ceilings of the Palais Garnier, her preferred show location in Paris. Everything from zebras and tortoises to armadillos and bears happily romping. No sign of any missionary position in France’s greatest opera house this morning.
The show marked her first runway appearance since the July announcement that LVMH had acquired a significant minority stake in her fashion brand. In fashion terms, a major coup de théâtre for Europe’s richest man and chairman & CEO of LVMH, Bernard Arnault, since Stella some 18 months ago had bought back almost exactly the same stake from his group’s great French rivals, luxury behemoth Kering.
Which made today’s show rather delicate diplomatically because within the LVMH empire are a series of giant brands – from Fendi to Louis Vuitton – who use exotic skins and furs.
As if to forewarn any suggestion that she might be selling out, McCartney’s green-colored program listed all her environmental activities, along with a chronological timeline.
Such as 2001, the year she opened her house, stopping the use of feathers and fur, and going animal glue-free; 2008, began using organic cottons; 2010, going PVC-free; 2012, biodegradable shoe soles; 2012, recycled polyester; 2013, agora-free; 2016, no virgin cashmere to prevent the desertification of grasslands.
After all this build-up and naughty videos, it was almost hard to find time to concentrate on the actual collection, one of the most sustainably assembled ever sent out in Paris. It almost felt like something of an anti-climax, even if there were some great looks.
Excellent kicky, broad stripe silk pants; long fluid boyfriend style blazers; sexy governess blouses with batwing sleeves; and a really beautiful midnight blue lace jumpsuit composed with billowing pants that the model looked totally proud to wear. Stella also had a brilliantly draped deep-gorge gown and, later, a subtle dinner jacket in the color of the season – teal.
A ladylike, even demure collection, even if on the soundtrack the dance track Right Now by Anti Up & Chris Lake & Chris Lorenzo was repeatedly belting out the lyrics: “Why do I feel so F..king Good? Why do I feel so F..king Good?"
In a co-ed show, la Stella even whipped up some casual yet crisp men’s suits and a charming prairie flower-print combo of matching pants, skirts and trench coat.
Even before she had staged this show, Stella turned up at the LVMH LIFE press conference last week, extolling the conglomerate’s ecological efforts. And proclaiming her very own self, “Bernard Arnault’s unofficial advisor on sustainability.”
Arnault for his part told the audience that he “was very proud to have Stella as part of LVMH. And excited to be working with such a talent.”
So far, then, for Stella and all the wildlife on the ceiling of the opera today, so good.
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