paris fashion week: stella mccartney

(images via vogue)

so! at this point, after covering her work zealously for many, many seasons now (see a/w 2010, resort 2011, s/s 2011, pre-fall 2011, a/w 2011, resort 2012, s/s 2012, pre-fall 2012, a/w 2012, resort 2013, s/s 2013, pre-fall 2013), i don’t believe there’s really anything else i can say about how much i love the work of stella mccartney. i mean, unless she decides to go more diverse racially, or with ‘plus size’ models in her runway shows, or maybe begins offering some fantastic flats a’la lanvin, then i could love her more, but otherwise…i think this is it, kids.

and so, for her a/w 2013 exhibition at paris fashion week, i’m simply going to let the critics talk, as they (predictably) have a lot to say. anyway, according to the la times, we saw “(t)ailored menswear pinstripes and plaids reshaped for women. Mannish, over-sized coats with deliberately positioned lapels. Pinstripes contouring the body on asymmetrically draped skirts and dresses. A needle-punch plaid-and-denim jacket worn with a pleated short skirt. Great-looking sweater dresses with transparent lace insets. Sensible, lug-sole ankle boots and shoes (lug soles are a big trend for fall). And felted baseball caps, which are coming back in a big way too.”

then style chimed in that “(h)er new collection for Fall wasn’t exactly sexless, but it did have a cooler, less come-hither sensibility than usual, which seemed to play against her strengths. It started with banker’s pinstripes—the first look a double-breasted jacket with uneven, diagonal hems worn over a long skirt in a thinner stripe with a folded drape in front. More covered-up pinstripes followed: men’s coats that topped cropped pants, a buttoned-to-the-collar shirt tucked into pleated trousers, and an unstructured dress extending to the mid-calf. Backstage, the designer talked about ‘inserting the feminine into masculine,’ but the models’ willowy frames tended to get a bit lost in the clothes.”

and us vogue pointed out that “McCartney went all the way back to the days she was mining Savile Row tailoring for inspiration, but—a sure sign of how much she has grown and evolved as a designer since the nineties—she took the chalky pinstripes on navy or charcoal, a blown-up plaid, or an ivory wool of a white-tie tuxedo, and inventively fused them with the kind of experimental cutting and off-kilter oversize volumes of the Japanese avant garde when it hit Paris in the early eighties.”

ms. mccartney, “and her mostly female design team have a completely unfettered approach that keeps her brand distinctive,” the nyt‘s cathy horyn began. “For fall she shifts the mood away from the feminine prints and sinewy cocktail dresses of recent seasons toward pinstripes and dark flannels, a haberdasher’s dream — except everything is a little off-kilter. Lapels are exaggerated or displaced, and some looks have a swag of fabric at the side that kicks out. But despite the appearance of structure, reinforced by the pinstripes, the clothes move dynamically over the body.”

“There’s also an amusing sense,” she carried along, “that Ms. McCartney’s women have occupied men’s tailoring on their terms. If they want a looser fit, then so be it. Also strong were long knock-around dresses in gray knit with deep black lace hems and some roomy silk separates in a scarred wallpaper print. Ms. McCartney had lots of color in her prefall line, but she might have given more to the runway.”

meanwhile, we heard the telegraph offering that “(s)oft tartan bomber jackets and a grey John Smedley-ish knit dress that bottomed with a wonky window of black lace re-established McCartney’s masculine versus feminine back-and-forthing. Supersized mannish coats – some with only one ornamental lapel – in that needle punch tartan, imperial purple and McCartney’s favourite blue followed. The purple, and black too, was deployed beautifully in some silk dresses with delicately placed sheer windows and wide, elastication-puckered strips that circumvented their wearers at the knee or below the shoulders.”

and said wwd, “(o)ne of the many high points of fashion — and even this deep into the season, there are gleeful moments — is finding something fresh in the familiar. Gender play, girls-will-be-boys, call it what you will, the incorporation of mannish motifs into women’s clothes is an oft-used, classic conceit. In the collection she showed on Monday, Stella McCartney manipulated one of its obvious elements — pinstripes — into something new and utterly engaging. Part of the appeal was that she pretty much extracted the androgyny; her chalky stripes may be the ancestral cloth of the lords of banking, but she delivered them with no small measure of distaff allure.”

elsewhere, fashion week daily described how “(t)he designer’s Savile Row-style suiting showed up most prominently this season in oversized navy pin-striped blazer-dresses worn with tailored, striped ankle trousers and chunky-soled chaussures. Later, the stripes took on relaxed, calf-skimming dresses, sweaters paired with kicky wool skirts, and cartoon-y printed silk separates. As for McCartney’s other calling card, her lace-edged slip dresses, those came pieced together—some with a turtleneck tops mashed with lacy bottoms, others with a casual polo top sewn together with a lacy, fishtail skirt.”

then, we heard the iht‘s suzy menkes declaring that “this show was a triumph for Ms. McCartney, taking her to that magical fashion place where she has a distinct personality, vision and message. It could be summed up as a dynamic woman of today with a sporty energy who expects her clothes to work as hard as she does. ‘I could wear everything on the runway,’ said the designer backstage with her brood. But that might not always have been the case, for recently Ms. McCartney has chosen to divide her collections into different sections: business, Olympic influence, red carpet for Hollywood friends. This time the collection was united in its approach.”

“It started with pinstripes,” she shuffled along, “that most mannish of materials, but the big, generous touch of the 1980s coats and dresses had a smart way of covering the body yet letting it undulate beneath. That male/female thing was perfectly expressed by plain jersey dresses inlaid with lace. The boyish, even child-like side of Ms. McCartney came through in a sporty outfit with cartoon writing spelling out ‘SKATE.’ The evening wear was perhaps a little weak, given that there wasn’t much except a violet dress gathered at the bust and a white tunic and pants. But with the red carpet turning into a yawn, even that approach was smart, showing a designer who is on the go and on the fashion mark.”

and uk vogue announced that “‘(i)t’s about being honest to what we are, timeless classics but also inserting a femininity,’ she said. And all the Stella classics were there – the menswear fabrics for an extensive coat selection; the sportier side for easy sweatshirts, sweatshirt dresses (all of which came in pinstripe), and jumpsuits; and that sense of ease. But where last season it had been a breezy and light outing, this time round everything was a lot heavier – from those fabrics to the drowning proportions of coats and jackets (that redefining and repositioning of lines at play here)…Of all the masculine-feminine mixes we’ve been seeing this season, this collection had a clever new take and it was all very Stella.”

“This collection summed up where Stella’s at right now and the Paris season so far with its honest approach and confident spirit, its reconfiguring of boy-meets-girl clothes,” shrieked elle. “It is hard to watch a Stella collection and not make it personal: I could wear that! That would go with such and such! This is me! So what were the pieces to crave? The broad shouldered coats and skater dresses, the striped knit dress over the kick-at-the-hem pinstriped calf-length skirt, the quilted pinstripe coat, the peaked caps, those polo-neck-cum-shoulder-shrugs, the sexy masculine charcoal pants, the knitted tracksuit, the tartan jeans jacket, the knit dress that spilled into a lace hem, the hot pink coat.”

and, finally, said the guardian, “(n)otwithstanding some Stella classics – the grey wool sweater dress, this season with black lace inserts; the coloured coat, this season in deep violet – the centre of gravity of this label continues to shift towards eveningwear…The designer recently noted that eveningwear can be tricky as much of it tends to be either prematurely ageing, or inappropriately over-youthful. Having identified a gap in the market for eveningwear which is neither deadly sober nor absurdly whimsical, she is making clothes to fill it.”

(watch the full fashion show video here)

t’s about being honest to what we are, timeless classics but also inserting a femininity,” she said. And all the Stella classics were there – the menswear fabrics for an extensive coat selection; the sportier side for easy sweatshirts, sweatshirt dresses (all of which came in pinstripe), and jumpsuits; and that sense of ease.

But where last season it had been a breezy and light outing, this time round everything was a lot heavier – from those fabrics to the drowning proportions of coats and jackets (that redefining and repositioning of lines at play here). There was a continuation of the shoulder-wrapping trend that we saw at Jean Paul Gaultier and which we saw again at Celine yesterday. And we saw bandeau necklines, as we have been seeing this fashion season, make an appearance too.

Of all the masculine-feminine mixes we’ve been seeing this season, this collection had a clever new take and it was all very Stella.

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