Stella and Stella—the headline writes itself. “I’ve known Frank for quite a long time, and I’ve always wanted to collaborate with him,” Stella McCartney said of Frank Stella, with whom she joined forces on her collection this season. “I love his minimalism and maximalism. It’s such a parallel to our brand: the very simple masculine side with the more explosive side. When you look at Frank’s work, it really tracks that quite well.”
In a tube atop the Center Pompidou which houses the artist’s work, McCartney presented a collection which interpreted Stella’s practice in both motif and lines. A collage-y print lifted from the lithograph Spectralia was employed in an oversized suit and a long-sleeved dress with a slightly ballooned skirt; a draped pleated dress and a top featured elements from the abstract Ahab.
Said top was fitted with the defining sleeve of McCartney’s collection: a bonkers application stitched around the shoulder in the manner of a ruched curtain, which also featured on what the press release wittily coined “chintz dresses.” They set the tone for a collection that—not unlike Stella’s sculpture work—was rich in unpredictable silhouettes, like skirts seemingly suspended from bikinis, jumpsuits woven from metal threads that burst out into fringes, or puff-sleeved cargo jumpsuits that could have been the uniform of an artist.
“He had to approve all the collection, which is funny, because Frank’s really moody and we love him for it,” McCartney said. “He has incredibly good taste. When you talk to him he has such a knowledge of art and design. And there were a few things where he was like, ‘Uh, no,’ but it was for reasons that were just so interesting. I loved his perspective on why.” The inter-Stella dialogue (sorry, had to) often made for some really weird proposals, which were fun to see on McCartney’s runway.
In the trendier department, the season’s go-to silhouette infiltrated this runway, too: the oversized jacket styled over a lingerie element and a slinky leg component, with the season’s runner-up just behind it in the shape of bodysuits, which—in this case—underlined the sculptural premise of the collaboration. McCartney accessorized her collection courtesy of an innovative technology that turns grape skins into mock leather, “so all the wine you’ve been drinking lockdown has been turned into a handbag,” she said.
Asked about the John F. Kennedy peace speech that played as guests took their seats, and the finale soundtrack featuring the Plastic Ono Band’s Give Peace a Chance, McCartney—who made a donation to CARE, an organization providing emergency crisis support to Ukraine—said she needed to address the contrast of organizing a fashion showcase at this moment in time: “It’s a very strange thing to do under the circumstances. We wanted to make a statement against war.”