LONDON, United Kingdom — Mary McCartney is applying her photography art to new mediums through the launch of a scarf collection with MatchesFashion. The six-piece line will include archival photographs and specially made portraits, reprinted onto silk and woven wool.
McCartney — who made a name for herself as a photographer in the mid-‘90s — was inspired by exhibition merchandise. “I spent more time in the gift shop at the V&A than I do in the museum because the collaborations are so good,” McCartney tells BoF. The project allows McCartney to "dip [her] toe” into other canvases for her work. Although she is keen to expand her product-driven collaborations, she is currently unsure of what those products might be. “I don’t see myself competing with my sister in the fashion sphere,” she says, referring to Stella McCartney (the sisters are daughters of musician Paul McCartney and photographer Linda McCartney.) “We’re always talking about [collaborating] and it will happen at some point, but it’s more about when.”
Today, McCartney's body of work is both portraits and social reportage. The line for MatchesFashion includes graphic images that show legs cast in fishnet tights and ample cleavage with rhinestone cowboy boot stickers on each breast, as well as two new "Paris Nude" portraits of comedienne Phyllis Wang.
McCartney shoots on a Leica that was given to her by her late mother and a 35mm Ricoh camera, small enough to fit in a bag and not intimidate subjects. “There’s a way of [capturing private moments], which my mum taught me,” she says. “You don’t go around the room with a camera in people’s face.”
“Collaborating with a photographer was a natural thing for us," Natalie Kingham, buying director at MatchesFashion, tells BoF. The project marks the first time the e-retailer has partnered with a photographer on a collection. "[What] we look for when buying [items in this category] is something that when tied as a scarf still looks beautiful, but then when opened changes to show a more solid image.” McCartney points out that they can be displayed on a wall, like her art work — although much cheaper: the scarves retail from £385 ($507.6).
Produced in Italy, the scarves are made in limited edition runs of 99 individually-numbered units and come with a certificate of authentication. “It’s a nice way of keeping it controlled," she says. "It’s not a mass project.”