Stella McCartney: more karma than Carmen
The question on everyone one’s mind entering the latest Stella McCartney show on Monday morning inside Paris’s legendary Opera was: Will the lady buy back the half of the company owned by her partners, French luxury group Kering?
Whatever ends up happening, judging by this show the house would appear to be in excellent condition. For this was a neat example of what Stella does best - stylish clothes that empower women as much as flatter them.
From her slate gray cable knit top with three-quarter sleeve worn paired with lose mohair pants; to a green duck egg blue plaid boyfriend coat, this was a thoroughly inviting collection. Stella can also mingle in cool femininity from a rouched faux lambskin cocktail to a finely cut ecru lace dress. Add in an Emily Bronte black décolleté; a series of witty peek-a-boo looks featuring British artist J.H. Lynch’s sultry women portraits; some great faux furs worn with chunky brothel creeper sneakers and this was a great display by McCartney, who looked majestic in all gray.
A newly trimmed down silhouette after a couple of seasons where McCartney had to closely followed the current weakness for mega volume in fashion. The result looked like an assured commercial collection, and all the better for it.
The show was also her first co-ed event; which included natty track pants, V-neck Aran sweaters; faded check double-breasted woolen jackets and a patchwork waistcoat of alpaca, wool and tweed all knotted together like a transection of earth strata.
All told, a smart fashion statement by a house that seems very at ease with itself. As well it should be. Kering does not break out Stella McCartney’s revenues in its annual report, though markets sources indicate it is close to 250 million euros annually, with low single figure growth. There had been speculation that Stella’s father, Sir Paul, might aid her financially in reacquiring the 50% stake owned by Kering, though inside sources insisted this was unlikely.
Kering’s owner François-Henri Pinault did not attend the show, as this weekend he was in Los Angeles attending the Oscars with his movie star wife Salma Hayek. A Kering spokesman reconfirmed the group’s long-standing position that they have had occasional discussions about their long-term status, but that nothing had changed in the relationship since Kering bought a half-stake in 2001 in the UK designer’s house. So, sitting in the Palais Garnier, it did not appear any separation would recall Carmen’s break-up with Don José.
The house’s CEO Frederick Lukoff pointedly refused to discuss the matter. “Don’t even ask me,” responded the executive, before scurrying off. Though his next port of call backstage was notable; to talk with Roberto Vedovotto, CEO of Kering Eyewear, which controls the worldwide license to McCartney’s eyewear.
Not perhaps an indication that a divorce is going to happen that soon.
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