Stella McCartney may have been the obvious choice to design Team Great Britain and Paralympics Great Britain’s uniforms (or “kit”) for the 2012 London Olympics. After all, her Adidas by Stella McCartney line has more than proved her athletic-wear bona fides, but her ascendancy to the luxury-brand fashion throne was anything but “written in the stone”. McCartney’s come a long way from her childhood on the organic farm, where she was raised by a hippie-era rock star dad and photographer mum (dad is Paul McCartney, mum is the late photographer, musician and animal rights activist Linda McCartney) — and also no distance at all. The values that have driven her brand from the start — a decision to abstain from the use of leather and fur (at a time and in an industry where this could have sunk the ship before it sailed), a commitment to making clothing in an ever more sustainable way — were there at the start.
McCartney took the fashion world by storm straight out of Central Saint Martins, the famed London design school that plaid a hand in the careers of more design luminaries than I can imagine, among them the great Lee Alexander McQueen, Matthew Williamson and Hussein Chalayan. With her behemoth-level design vision and talent, and non-negotiable, cruelty-free/sustainable approach to delivering luxury goods. She may sacrifice a bit in profits along the way (sometimes doing the right thing does cost a little more), but isn’t that exactly what a modern brand should do — measure its profits not just in the money it makes, but in the positive impact it has the privilege of having on the world?
By making impeccably tailored, imaginatively conceived, and ethically consistent luxury-brand fashion on her own terms, Stella has proven that we don’t have to dump our values at the door to make our way in this world.
Let’s take a look at some of Stella’s greatest hits.
STELLA’S GREATEST HITS
McCartney launched her eponymous line right out of Central Saint Martins. After two collections, she took the reigns as Creative Director at Chloe, where she revitalized the storied brand for a new generation. In 2001, she re-launched the Stella McCartney label in a joint venture with the Gucci group (and now with the luxury arm of PPR, the company behind Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Yves Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen and more).
Shoes and Handbags
A few years ago, I was at an art opening at a very groovy gallery on a grimy stretch of an iconic L.A. street. The food was great. The drinks were greater — my favorite, capirinhas, were served. But the star of the evening was the tote I glimpsed slung over another woman’s arm. She looked like an effortless million bucks — you know the kind of woman I mean, who looks both polished, and like she’s paid no care at all. Naturally, I asked the provenance of her bag in a sentence that went something like, “Can I ask where you got your bag.” “Stella McCartney” was her two-word answer, and in that instant I understood that you don’t have to sacrifice luxury to stake a claim on cruelty-free. To appreciate the scope and scale of McCartney’s accomplishment, you’ll need to see the bags in person — they don’t show as well on the computer screen — and when you do, you’ll find that she imbues her shoes and bags with the same sense of high-end style that she brings to her clothes.
The TeamGB and ParalympicsGB London Olympics Kit
Stella’s sleek, stylish workout line for Adidas all but made her the “of course” choice to design Team Great Britain and Paralympics Great Britain’s uniforms (or “kit”, as the Brits call it) for the 2012 London Olympics.
Stella McCartney for Adidas
Stella McCartney for Adidas may be the most sleek and stylish workout gear around. It puts the lifestyle back in your workout, and leaves you wanting more. For example, I’d love a pair of her running shoes — and I don’t even run.
Partnering With The Natural Resources Defense Council To Make A Positive Change
Stella is the first luxury brand to join forces with the Natural Resource Defense Council’s Clean By Design program to help textile mills improve the efficiency and reduce the environmental impact of their production process.
The Genius Stella McCartney Pre-Spring 2013 Presentation
The Stella McCartney Spring 2013 Presentation, sponsored by Belvedere and held at the Marble Cemetery, was nothing short of genius. It showcased the joie de vivre genius of Stella McCartney’s world. Curious to see it? You already have. It’s the video at the start of this post.
VIDEO via StellaMcCartney.com
PHOTOGRAPHY BY BRUCE WEBBER via Vogue.com
PAULA PURYEAR is a Lawyer, Film & Television writer, HuffPoster and Founder of Revel In It Mag.