Designs of all stripes at Stella McCartney show
Models on the runway during the Stella McCartney show as part of Paris Fashion Week yesterday. photograph: pascal le segretain/getty images
Stella McCartney’s show at the Paris Opera yesterday was delayed by the arrival of her father Sir Paul, Bono and US actor Jessica Alba.
When it got under way, the show was a freewheeling play on pinstripes, chalkstripes and grey flannel, the very stuff of traditional British tailoring but freed from buttoned-up rigour.
This was not surprising given the designer’s Savile Row background, but the exaggerated cocoon coats, drop-shouldered jackets and elongated skirts had a dark, mannish air, particularly when worn with clumpy biodegradable rubber platforms.
Softer tunics and dresses with flirty sidekicks showed a more feminine side, but it would take a bold woman to wear a full-length habit like a pinstriped postulant.
McCartney (41), who was surrounded by her four children at the finale, is in her prime as a designer. She was awarded an OBE in December and presides over a fashion empire that generates more than €100 million a year.
Well-heeled working mothers are her main customers and many of those at yesterday’s show were sporting leopard-print coats and Falabella bags from her spring collection.
McCartney is proud of the fact that ethical fashion can be successful and that she can sell millions of bags that are not made of leather.
Her easygoing casualwear was strong in this collection, with quilted black hoodies, soft and stylish grey wool tracksuits and stretchy shoulder bands worn over knits and slouchy trousers.
There were some terrific coats in two-tone shades of grey or light plaid, while cartoon-printed willowy silk dresses had a lightness of touch sometimes missing elsewhere.
Irish exhibitors in Paris this season include leather maker Úna Burke, who counts Lady Gaga and Rihanna among her clients; Lainey Keogh; Lucy Downes of Sphere One; and Natalie Coleman, whose printed silk blouse was selected as a showpiece by exhibition organisers. A newcomer this season is designer Danielle Romeril from Dublin. “Paris is much more businesslike than London,” she said. “There is a big international buying contingent . . . I’ve picked up many new stockists.”