Sunday, September 24, 2023

With ‘Stella’, Stella McCartney Brings Her Minimalism Ethos to Clean Beauty


British fashion designer Stella McCartney is the latest celebrity to launch a clean skincare line. And it’s as sustainable as her clothing.

In a partnership with luxury group LVMH, the new Stella McCartney clean skincare line, Stella, is a minimalist three-piece vegan range that includes a cleanser, serum, and a cream.

“I am not that person who wants to buy a million products for different areas of my face. I don’t want all that stuff in my life,” McCartney told WWD.

“I want less, and I want it to work. I want it to be honest and to complement my way of thinking, and of living life. I obviously wanted to do the cleanest skincare that we could do in luxury, the purest of the pure,” said McCartney.


Stella was three years in the making according to the designer. From the formulations to the packaging, the vegan, cruelty-free range is made from sustainably sourced ingredients including upcycled food waste like skin-boosting squalene, which is a byproduct of the olive oil industry.

The range’s scents, which are meant to evoke freshness and grass, are inspired by McCartney’s memories of her family’s farm in western Scotland. All of the products feature a blend of clove leaf, pine resin, and mentholated eucalyptus formulated by perfumer Francis Kurkdijan.

stella mccartney
Stella McCartney | Courtesy

One percent of Stella’s net sales will go to support the NGO Wetlands International and its efforts to protect peatlands, the largest carbon store on earth. Peatlands cover nearly one-quarter of Scotland’s land mass.

“We want to raise the bar on sustainability in beauty,” said Stephane Delva, director of New Beauty Projects at LVMH Perfumes & Cosmetics. LVMH is the parent company of Sephora, which has increased its commitments to sustainable and clean beauty products in recent years through initiatives like its Clean at Sephora label.

Sustainability at LVMH

The luxury group has also increased sustainability efforts across its fashion and spirits brands. Under the direction of the late designer Virgil Abloh, Louis Vuitton has re-imagined its offerings to include upcycled and renewable materials as well as a dedicated logo to help consumers spot its sustainable offerings.

Earlier this year, the group announced it was exploring lab-grown fur. LVMH is one of the only luxury houses to not yet have banned fur from its labels. It says it wants to replace the controversial material with a sustainable and innovative textile that performs like animal fur.

moët hennessy sustainable

Its Möet Hennessy division is also exploring reducing its carbon footprint. As France moves to make 100 percent of its wine industry sustainable, the division recently announced a €20 million research center in Mont Aigu to develop more sustainable spirits.

Stella’s sustainability commitments include refillable packaging; after the initial jar purchase, consumers can opt for refill pouches made from wood waste. The company is also banning ingredients that cause pollutants. It will also ship products by boat, instead of air, in order to further decrease its impact. This, McCartney says, will decrease its emissions from shipping by more than a third.

“At LVMH, there is a genuine passion for the future of the luxury industry. The beauty team at LVMH is pushing boundaries that she never thought were possible. They have been so hungry to find new ways, new solutions,” McCartney said.

beatles get back documentary
Beatles ‘Get Back’ | Courtesy

McCartney, 50, is the daughter of Beatles’ co-founder Paul McCartney. She’s a longtime advocate for sustainable and ethical fashion. The designer lauched several beauty offerings in the past, including Care, which launched in 2006 with YSL Beauté, and before that, in 2003, she launched a fragrance, also called Stella. 

But it’s her sustainability commitments that have made her the first name in eco fashion. From eschewing animal leather to her A to Z Manifesto to her COP26 diaries to her first mushroom leather handbag that took more than five years to develop, McCartney is synonymous with responsible fashion. Earlier this month she announced a $200 million fund to help support fashion entrepreneurs focused on making the industry more ethical and sustainable.

Clean beauty

Like with her fashion commitments, McCartney was ahead of her time when it came to clean beauty. But the category is ripe. Stella joins a growing roster of clean, minimal celebrity skincare including Kim Kardashian’s recently launched SKKN, Scarlett Johannson’s The Outset, and Naomi Osaka’s Kinlo, among others.

Scarlett Johansson One Tree Planted
Courtesy The Outset

The launch builds on McCartney’s relationship with LVMH, which took a minority stake in the label in 2019. Since then, the designer, who serves as special advisor to LVMH’s founder, chairman, and CEO Bernard Arnault, has been instrumental in moving the luxury group toward more sustainability efforts.

“A decisive factor was that she was the first to put sustainability and ethical issues on the front stage, very early on, and built her House around these issues,” Arnault said of the partnership in 2019. “It emphasizes LVMH Groups’ commitment to sustainability.”

Available later this year via the Stella beauty website, is the Restore cream, including the glass jar, $105, refill $85; the Reset cleanser, $60, refill, $45; the Alter-Care serum, $140, refill $110.


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