Stella McCartney channeled the free spirit of the Sixties and Seventies into her debut menswear, which she unveiled Thursday at a lively party alongside her spring 2017 women’s collection, her first foray into see-now, buy-now.
The venue, which featured such performers as Neneh Cherry, Beth Ditto, Paul Simon and Mike D from the Beastie Boys, highlighted that musicians (from The Beatles era through to the London rave scene) “heavily inspired” the collection — more so in freewheeling spirit than in literal interpretations of the Seventies or Nineties.
“We feel like we’re launching a brand-within-a-brand with men’s,” said McCartney, who chose to unveil the women’s spring 2017 pre-collection alongside her men’s 2017 offer. Orders were taken for both collections in the June-July period, with the languid women’s collection arriving in stores now, and the men’s in early January. A little see-now, buy-now and a little see-now, buy-very-soon.
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“It’s funny because I’m a woman designing for women, and it’s been at the heart of everything we do. Something like 80 percent of our employees are women. It feels so right, genuine and effortless and modern — and relevant. And I do think there’s some merit to doing that same thing for men,” McCartney said.
As models strode around during a preview wearing boxy jackets and macs paired with sleek cargo pants and sandals worn with socks, McCartney explained she aims to dress many different kinds of men, as she does many kinds of women.
“There’s definitely a kind of street, sport, youthful vibe to this collection, and then there’s definitely the heritage that I have in Savile Row tailoring. It’s sort of unavoidable for me,” she said, pointing to a rack of womenswear showing a similar breadth of products. “Look, there’s a nylon puffer jacket next to a lace dress.”
Shoes span “cool vegan sneakers” to non-leather dress shoes. “It was a real sacrifice for men, a vegan shoe,” McCartney confessed, which is why her father and Morrissey imposed on her in recent years to make them bespoke Chelsea boots and brogues.
The designer noted that almost half of her debut menswear is made with sustainable raw materials, including organic cotton and denim, recycled nylon and polyester, and Ultrasuede, true to her anti-fur and anti-leather convictions and in keeping with her annual environmental profit and loss account, which measures the company’s impact on nature. “Our point of difference has always been that we’re sustainably minded,” she said. “And that is something we’re delivering with men’s from the outset.”
The event, which sprawled across two studios, one for menswear and the other for the women’s collection, underlined McCartney’s sense of fun and unconventionality. Orlando Bloom, M.I.A., Ellie Goulding, Twiggy, Lucie de la Falaise and Camilla Al-Fayed were among guests who swilled orange margaritas and shuttled between the two party rooms.
Her pre-spring women’s collection was full of drapey, loose shapes and gossamer fabrics, with nature-inspired prints and motifs. A waterfall print spilled over a long layered dress with a dramatic pleated collar, while elegant dogs came dotted across a long, lightweight shirtdress and flower embroidered adorned tops. A navy all-in-one with white polka dots and a ruffle running down the front was a standout. McCartney said she was going for effortless dressing, with pieces that could segue from day to evening.
Positioned at the approachable end of designer collections, the menswear is to be showcased in about 15 of Stella McCartney’s 42 stores and at about 200 wholesale doors worldwide, including such retailers as Selfridges in London and Manchester; Saks Fifth Avenue in the U.S.; I.T. in China; Apropos in Germany; Restir in Tokyo, and Matchesfashion.com and Ssense.com for online.