“It’s a Stella-bration!” whooped Stella McCartney, sipping champagne in between sets at the Hollywood concert thrown in honor of her Autumn—the brand’s name for Pre-Fall—men’s and women’s collections. McCartney always does a good pre-collections party, but even for her, last night was a doozy. Not only did St. Vincent, Beck, Grimes, Leon Bridges, and Borns play to a sweaty room stuffed with celebrities, pop stars, and their progeny, but her father, Paul McCartney, walked the red carpet with Ringo before joining Matt Bellamy and his one-night-only Beatles cover outfit, Dr. Pepper’s Jaded Hearts Club Band, on the elaborately neon-festooned stage to belt out “I Saw Her Standing There” and “Helter Skelter.” By the time you read this, you’ve probably already seen it on Instagram.
With all the hubbub, it was hard to focus on the clothes, or even find them, though perhaps that was also because the gangs of models clustered about the space—S.I.R. Studios, a 50-year-old instrument rental and recording institution—almost disappeared into the set design, like ghosts of the studio’s rock heyday. “I think everything I do will probably, without me even trying, relate to rock ‘n’ roll,” McCartney explained. That came through in a series of experiments with an old favorite: animal prints, for both men and women—blown up on fuzzy knitwear, blurred to look like camouflage, or layered over houndstooth checks. This was only the second time McCartney has shown her men’s and women’s collections together, and the format was underscored by another prominent work of neon: a large, flashing Time’s Up logo. “I have two boys and two girls, and I really just want them to not even know what Time’s Up is,” she said.
Both collections also featured zany, graphic pieces in red, black, and white, like zigzag knits and silks, and coats with enormously scaled words woven into the fabric. Elsewhere, a set of deconstructed lace-inset slip dresses in sherbet hues telegraphed a with-the-band dreaminess, while the guys on the opposite side of the stage sported tailoring with a Fab Four feel. The accessories, as per usual, packed plenty of razzle-dazzle, particularly a bag and scarf with a groovy retro graphic reading “No Smile No Service.”
The other strand in McCartney’s DNA is, of course, her environmentalist bent. This season, in addition to her signature vegan furs and leathers and a special recycled nylon, she’s introducing a more sustainable range of eyewear and a new sneaker for both men and women, the fully recyclable Loop trainer, assembled with tiny internal hooks instead of toxic glue (the on-trend sock knit style also happens to eliminate cutting waste). It’s details like these that prove McCartney’s commitment to changing the industry is serious—even if her presentations are serious fun.