One of the industry’s top female designers, Stella McCartney has turned her British take on modern femininity into a global brand.
McCartney entered the fashion industry aged 16, interning at Christian Lacroix. Following Lacroix, McCartney honed her cutting skills at Edward Sexton, the world famous Savile Row tailor. The period remains a significant influence in her work to this day, which regularly references and uses tailoring techniques in its construction.
Having attained her foundation degree from Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication, McCartney studied at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. McCartney’s friends, who happened also to be supermodels, modeled her graduation collection in 1995. Naomi Campbell, Yasmin Le Bon and Kate Moss all walked for the budding designer, which made front-page news in UK.
In 1997, McCartney was appointed creative director of Parisian fashion house Chloé, following in the footsteps of Karl Lagerfeld. McCartney’s time at Chloé was both a commercial and critical success, her easy interpretation of the house’s codes fitting well with her own fluid tailoring and sense of proportion.
In 2001, McCartney showed her first collection in Paris under own name in a joint venture with the Gucci Group, under Kering. McCartney is the only designer in the Kering group to have an equal share in her business. The Stella McCartney brand now operates 23 freestanding stores in locations including Manhattan’s Soho, London’s Mayfair and Brompton Cross, LA’s West Hollywood, Paris’ Palais Royal, Milan and Tokyo. Her collections are distributed in over 50 countries through 600 wholesale accounts and shipped to 100 countries online.
In addition a long-term partnership with Adidas was introduced in September 2004. ‘Adidas by Stella McCartney’ has since successfully grown to include several athletic disciplines including running, gym, yoga, tennis, swimming, winter sports and cycling. In September 2010, Adidas appointed McCartney Team GB’s creative director for the 2012 Olympics – the first time in the history of the games that a leading fashion designer has designed the apparel for a country’s team across all competitions, for both the Olympic and the Paralympic Games.
In addition to her Adidas collaboration, in November 2005, the one-off collection “Stella McCartney for H&M” sold out worldwide in record time. McCartney launched her first perfume Stella in 2003. In January 2007 McCartney launched a skincare line, CARE a one hundred percent organic line. A lifelong vegetarian, McCartney does not use animal skins in her designs.
McCartney is married to publisher Alasdhair Willis; the couple has four children.