- ANDERS CHRISTIAN MADSEN
Stella McCartney PRE-FALL 2022
The white suit in the opening look of Stella McCartney’s collection was informed by one worn by John Lennon in her favorite picture. “It’s of John and Yoko [Ono], and I’ve always loved how he looks in it. It’s the perfect cut, the perfect lapel, the perfect everything,” she said on a call from her West London home. In recent months, the designer has been absorbed in Get Back, the Peter Jackson-directed documentary on the making of The Beatles’ final album, Let It Be. As the daughter of Paul McCartney, Stella created a capsule collection in support of the documentary, which segued into this collection.
“Get Back is my favorite period of fashion. It was a period when I wasn’t born yet, but the fashion didn’t change much in the years after,” she said, referring to the late-’60s silhouettes that kicked off ’70s glam. When you’re a kid you don’t think about any of it, but it was definitely impactful. I knew I wanted to be a fashion designer very early on from the memories I had looking at my parents’ wardrobes and going on to Savile Row. For me, it goes beyond the look and the image, obviously. It’s what smells I associate with it… I had access to touching those suits. They were in my life. They’re very important memories for me,” she said, adding how she and her family would visit Lennon and Ono in New York’s Dakota building during the first 10 years of her life.
McCartney channeled her personal approach into a collection that was often devoted to the tailoring at the core of her fashion education. “It’s how I, as a woman, truly want to wear tailoring, still, to this day. I’ve been doing it forever and it’s never really come off-piste,” she said. “Everyone needs a great suit, and I think it’s an interesting moment to bring back the suit. They’ve gone out of fashion a little, but at the moment they’re very much back in the conversation, and I wanted to celebrate that.” In the process, she leaned into tailoring that cuts to the contours of the body, a contrast to what she called the “over-scaled impact suiting” of our current fashion moment.
McCartney paired that tailoring with vegan cowboy boots, an eco-fashion challenge she’s always wanted to achieve. “I’ve never been able to get one. I have loads of vintage ones from my mum, who would horse-ride in them.” The effect was inarguably ’70s and laid the groundwork for a collection that also featured several hippie elements: fringed ponchos, prairie jackets, maxi-flares and -dresses, and a certain hand-spun vibe. “I think the pandemic has definitely brought out the hippie in more people. They’re aware of their mental health and what they need to survive and be their best selves,” she said. “It’s this memory of those first days of lockdown and what that brought to us. Now we’re all here again, but let’s keep the beauty that came out of Covid present in our lives going forward.”
As the industry’s sustainable frontrunner, McCartney is one of the few designers who can get away with referencing the ecological side of hippie values in a moralizing way. (As always, the collection came with an extensive eco fact sheet, which added ‘regenerated denim’ and the dyeing technique ‘Recycrom” to the brand’s green practices.) She used the collection to launch her very own fancy monogram, made up of S letters and circles to symbolize her brand’s devotion to all things circular, from economy to life. In that sense—and many others—McCartney’s new hippies were as sophisticated as Lennon, who managed to look glamorous even on his hippiest of days.