PARIS, France — Stella invites you. Stella wants you. Stella adores you. Slogans like these beeped across the LED invitation for today’s Stella McCartney show — a kitsch reminder of her pop-inflected vision of inclusive, unabashed femininity that hit home before the show had even started.
The collection followed suit, and we were instantly reminded of McCartney’s status as a pure trend machine; a designer with the ability to amalgamate the fabrics, shapes and mood of the moment. She sands the rough edges away, and presents it to women in a polished, digestible and sometimes more effortless version.
For Autumn/Winter 2016 McCartney arrived at the kind of tough versus pretty amalgam that has concerned many of her peers of late – a hybrid feeling she captured by padding a zippered gilet in rusty orange velvet and pairing it with a pleated metallic slip, or by upsizing bleached denim as a chic laced shirtdress, for example.
Elsewhere the undoubted, much-touted ‘Vetements-effect’ shaded her collection with extra-long sleeved coats, cropped puffer jackets, and other workwear shapes (feather-free quilted shorts, anyone?) that rubbed up close and personal with the vintage silhouette of demure ruffled blouses and lingerie satin slips.
Those sportier separates lent an ‘ath-leisure’ conceit to a collection that otherwise skewed louche and ladylike, with its pooling flared trousers, frilled bib blouses and swaddling knitwear combinations that tended towards the frumpier side of McCartney’s oeuvre.
Smart layering worked however, setting off her heavier propositions with the flashy metallic foil of cocktail dresses and box-pleated skirts, as well as the season’s nostalgic swan motif that returned on an ungainly sweater dress shape (flounced, and to the floor). Tracing the edges of an elegant black robe and speckled grey coat, fringed borders on collars, patch pockets, and hemlines were a more refreshing textural device.