Wow! What a momentous occasion Grazia Daily witnessed yesterday. The all-singing, all-dancing launch of Stella McCartney and Adidas’s Olympic kit for team GB truly got the emotion - and Olympic spirit - going (not to mention the numerous muscle-bound athletes modelling the kit that gave us a severe case of ab-envy). We'd like to take this opportunity to say how lovely Ms. McCartney is close-up. Beautifully groomed without looking too ‘done’, amazing eyebrows and elegant hands, plus her great figure in one of her own creations (a Spring Summer 2012 Stella McCartney paisley jumpsuit and two-tone Stella McCartney heels). What a lady! We were lucky enough to sneak backstage during the launch at London’s Tower Bridge to catch up with the high fashion designer behind the kit as well as her pal, British javelin thrower Goldie Sayers...
Grazia Daily: Hello! Can we ask what is your own fitness regime, Stella?
Stella McCartney: I do various different things. I [horse] ride, I swim, I ride my bike around town, I might sometimes do a dance workout, I do a bit of yoga – I do a bit of everything. [glances at Goldie] I don’t really do javelins. But apart from that!
GD: How much does your own sportiness inform your work for the Olympics?
SM: Ha ha! Not at all! When it comes to the Olympic athletes, my little workout regime doesn’t even begin to compare! It’s a vastly different thing, and that, of course is where Adidas come in, with all their technical expertise and the way they are developing the amazing performance boosting technology in terms of fabrics, and things like that.
GD: What are some of the other considerations that go into creating the kit?
SM: Well, it’s numerous things. Firstly, it’s Great Britain – so it’s me as a British person thinking – what do we want to represent the nation? Then there are all the technical things – to help the athletes’ performance, but also there are strict Olympic rules and regulations of certain things you’re not allowed to do. Then you’ve got the athletes’ feedback and opinions to take on board – like gymnasts for example, the nature of their event means the design on their leotard would influence how they were judged in the competition.
Honestly – it’s so complex, you’ve got so many factors to consider, by the time it comes to me as a designer and how it looks – you’ve only got certain options left of what you can do!
GD: Have you spent a lot of time with the athletes themselves? What is that like?
SM: Amazing. That’s been such a brilliant part of the job. But when I’m meeting with the athletes I’m just like a normal member of the public, going ‘so how much do you work out? What do you do? What drives you to keep going?’ It’s awe-inspiring what they do.
GD: As part of your work with the athletes, particularly the girls, have any of them been worried about their body confidence, or requested a particularly figure-flattering style?
SM: Well, as a rule no. The boys and girls have good pretty good body confidence, as they’ve got pretty good bodies! Better than most, I’d say!
Goldie Sayers: Well, we’ve got good confidence, I suppose. But there’s also the fact that maybe female athletes have a slightly more triangular, broad shouldered shape than other women. You want that confidence boost though, because you are a performer, you’re out there in front of a huge audience. You are getting into character when you’re about to do your event and you’re conscious of being on show – on and off screen.
SM: Of course I think – I want them to look good so they’ll feel good and perform even better. There’s an interesting fact about the girl’s kit – the tracksuits and the podium-wear in particular. I think this is the first ever Olympics when the girls have had their own women’s tracksuit. In the past I think they just had the boy’s one in a smaller size, so I’ve been very happy to be able to be the one who gives it a bit more of a feminine touch.
GD: That’s fascinating! Speaking of the feminine touch – when you go back to designing your mainline, how is it going to be affected by this job? Will you be making even sportier looks than ever or will you go in the other direction and be, ‘right, all tailoring this season’?
SM; Well, I’m known for having quite a few sportswear touches anyway. I have actually started work on my spring collection and it’ll be a mix, like always. I personally love sportswear, and love using it in high fashion. I think it’s quite British, it’s urban and it’s wearable and I love the mix of it with other garments.
GD: Last question; when you signed the contract for your first ever Adidas collaboration eight years ago, could you ever have imagined how it would grow, and the sheer scale of designing for the Olympics?
SM: No, not in the slightest. I don’t think I ever would have imagined this. For a start, I’m pretty much a live-in-the-moment kind of person anyway. I don’t plan massively in advance. Another thing is, when I stop to think of how big it really is – I do start feeling nervous, and feeling the build up of pressure. All I can say is – I’m so honoured, it really is such a great privilege to be involved and I’m so excited, and I can feel I’m going to get so emotional thinking about it, [for a split second, Stella looks a bit wobbly] and I can’t wait for the games. I’m really excited!
GD: Brills! Are you going to the opening ceremony? They should get you your own float!
SM: Ooh, I hope so! I’d like that. I’d like to be up there holding a special Stella javelin!
Wow. How cool is that? Bring on the games!