Stella McCartney's Fashion Evolution
2012 was the year that belonged to Stella. What with her eight-year partnership with Adidas resulting in her overseeing the creation of the Team GB kit for all our Olympians, a return to the London catwalk for a one-off eveningwear show not to mention her 40th birthday and winning ‘brand of the year’ at the end of 2011, it looked as if her feminine yet super-modern minimal clothes had boosted her status to world-conquering level.
Early trademarks attributed to Stella McCartney’s collections were the sharply tailored blazers and trouser suits combined with softer, more feminine lingerie-inspired pieces. Over the seasons, these two influences have blended to create strikingly modern, clean pieces, with a curved, feminine edge to them, always with unique patterns and an emphasis on texture.
She was born in 1971, daughter of megastar Beatle, Paul McCartney and activist Linda McCartney and famously, attended state school in Sussex because her parents wanted her to keep her feet on the ground. Her career progression after this was; art foundation at Ravensbourne College and then a degree in fashion design at Central Saints Martins. Her graduation show hit the headlines for featuring, as it did supermodels, Naomi Campbell, Yasmin Le Bon and Kate Moss. After graduating, she spent time at Savile Row tailor Edward Sexton to improve her pattern-cutting skills.
She swiftly achieved her first big-name job at Chloe, as creative director of French heritage label in 1997. Although the designer she was replacing, a certain Karl Lagerfeld was rather ungracious about her appointment, he was soon proved wrong, as the collections she created with her friend and assistant, Phoebe Philo won over the fashion world with their youthful, trend-starting panache, and sell-out handbags, during which time the term ‘it bag’ was coined.
So what can have inspired Stella to become a fashion designer? ‘I think it was films,’ she once said. ‘I loved all those Doris Day visuals of her being a tomboy and then changing into this gorgeous girl in a ballgown’ As well as the fact she didn’t think pop music was a good idea with the Beatles legacy to live up to.
She designed one of the first designer collaborations with H&M in 2005 – predictably it sold out in record time. She has designed stagewear for Madonna and Annie Lennox, counts Kate Hudson and Kate Winslet as customers and Kate Moss as a friend.
The expansion of the ‘World of Stella’ as it is branded includes fragrance, skincare, lingerie, a highly cute range of kidswear, myriad sportswear ranges for Adidas and four mainline collections a year. Stella is married to creative consultant Alasdhair Willis and has four children, Miller, Bailey, Beckett and Reiley.