Stella McCartney’s Animal Farm, carbon-neutral style
A gang of cartoon costumed characters greeted guests at the Stella McCartney show inside the Paris Opera on Monday. Handing out small tree saplings as gifts, the faux furries also provided a wacky running commentary as the early invitees enjoyed cups of tea or coffee.
“This one is called Robert,” joked a six-foot man dressed up like giant crocodile, pointing to one sapling, joining a massive cow, a couple of bunnies and a jolly fox.
A note attached to each sapling read: “We should all be carbon neutral now. We are absorbing the CO2 emitted by the show to make this a completely carbon neutral experience. Planting this tree is part of the solution.”
No designer has exerted as much energy for ecology as Stella McCartney, and her latest collection was a case in point.
Starring a series of excellent constructivist-style coats – none better than the classy Rodchenko-worthy commissar black coat worn by blond veteran Amber Valletta. Turns out McCartney was inspired this season by the legendary Franco-Russian illustrator Erté, whom she met as a child. She collaborated with the Erté archives to create some charming private prints like Jellyfish and Starburst, used in enveloping cocktail dresses.
Though the heart of the matter was taking classic men’s city and military coats and injecting in some neat feminine touches. Unadorned, yet superlatively cut, many finished with subtle funnels necks, they will be true best-sellers, expressing Stella’s optimistic yet practical DNA. One could easily imagine any gal marching straight out of this show into the steady rain that has engulfed the final five days of Paris Fashion Week. And look very stylish doing so.
Somewhat ironically, for a true militant against the use of all animal products in fashion, half the looks were of faux fur, shaggy pile animal-free shearling or perforated vegan leather. On top of that, a series of great Chelsea boots named Emilie, made of high vegan leather and featuring a layer of macadamia wood in their sole, were uncannily like real leather. All this would be somewhat beside the point if the clothes were not any good, but happily this was one of Stella’s strongest autumn collections in many seasons.
All made in a somber palette of black, mineral, clay, sand and dollops of purple and burnt red. And climaxing with a dozen animals joining her fashion flock in a jolly finale. Led by Friesian cows, and with her bunny rabbits dancing merrily, it helped lift the mood in the virus-darkened and gloomiest season in Paris in living memory.
Despite the dank weather, Stella seems liberated by life with her new partners LVMH, and is clearly fully on top of her game creatively.
“Liberated? I’ve always been liberated!” she cracked, as she posed backstage with a score of models and cartoon characters.
“And, now I’d like a portrait only with the animals. Sorry girls!” shouted Stella, as her faux farm animals gathered around her, and the mannequins departed.
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