Baguette S-Wave bags made from grape leather, regenerative cotton, and solvent-free crystals strutted the runway for designer Stella McCartney in her most sustainable show to date.
“If I’m doing my job right, you shouldn’t see any of the sustainability,” McCartney told reporters following the show. “It should just look like the most luxurious, glamorous show. I don’t want it to look like sustainable fashion—I want it to look sexy and effortless and easy.”
The catwalk show was held at Pompidou Centre in Paris in the public square. In attendance was the designer’s father, Sir Paul McCartney, artist Jeff Koons, comedian, Jerry Seinfeld, and Bernard Arnault, the chairman and chief executive of the LVMH group, which took a minority stake in the brand three years ago. McCartney and LVMH have partnered on several launches, including the designer’s recently launched skincare range, Stella.
McCartney took cues from the Pompidou Center’s colors with bright pops of colors akin to spring flowers in motion. The show featured mini-dresses, scuba tops, and bags. Amber Valletta wore a tailored jumpsuit, Bella Hadid a vest and low-rise trousers with rhinestone-dotted cut-outs; the rhinestones were made without toxic glues or solvents, the designer said. Gigi Hadid wore a fitted cargo suit—all in nods to the designer’s past work and the Y2K trends that have resurfaced in recent years.
“My daughter, who’s 15, all she does now is go into my closet and take all my original things,” teh designer told Vogue. “And I’m like, ‘Oh, but I make similar things now.’ She’s not interested. She just wants the ’90s.”
McCartney also took inspiration from Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara, using his depictions of children on garments. She also leaned into his slogan “Change the History” as the focus for the collection.
“I want to look back at my history and redefine where I started and where I am now and what the next Stella looks like,” she said.
But beyond the striking styles, it’s what the audience didn’t see that McCartney says she’s most proud of—at 87 percent sustainable, the collection was a label record. “I’m so chuffed. I hope nothing was compromised,” she said. “You shouldn’t see any of the sustainability. It should just look like the most glamorous show.”
The show marked the debut of regenerative cotton for the label, part of a three-year partnership LVMH is investing in. Regenerative cotton goes beyond organic certification and takes care of the soil and its ability to capture and store carbon.
At last year’s spring show, McCartney debuted the Frayme handbag made with mycelium—the rooting structure of mushrooms. A limited number of those bags were made available earlier this summer. This year, McCartney took mycelium and other bio-based materials, including grape skin leather to new heights with sustainable shoes and bags. Oversized chain straps were made from mycelium, and the S-Wave baguette shaped bag featured grape skin leather.
“I have this incredible seat at the table, and I want to use that position to change fashion from the inside,” said McCartney, who also commented on Arnault’s presence at the show. “Mr Arnault is not stupid. While he is watching my show, looking at all these non-leather shoes, non-leather bags, non-leather jackets, he can compare what he’s looking at with the other brands. He can see that there is no sacrifice visually, or in make, or in quality, in what I’m doing.”