PARIS (AP) — Earthy aromas stung the noses of guests as they entered Stella McCartney: A manege. Chills from…
PARIS (AP) — Earthy aromas stung the noses of guests as they entered Stella McCartney: A manege. Shivers from the cold quickly gave way to gasps as seven horses suddenly galloped out of the side door, following their sprightly handler.
The show, which included equestrian themes, was a visual and sensory expression of McCartney, a well-known animal rights activist.
Here are some highlights from Monday’s Paris Fashion Week shows:
MCCARTNEY SOFTNESS AND HARDNESS
The vibrant design, displayed on the brown sand of the arena, took its inspiration not only from horses – with equine motifs, the patina of horse blankets that inspire the look of wool, and marbled patterns reminiscent of horse coats – but also from the world of show jumping.
McCartney used athletic splendor and regalia to inspire a collection that was true to her sartorial background.
The double-breasted jacket had sharp shoulders cinched in above the waist, with a diagonal dynamic that combined masculine and feminine. Regalia and military included a men’s white and lilac tailored jumper jacket.
According to McCartney, the sense of “softness and hardness of masculine versus feminine” that is the touchstone of the LVMH-owned fashion house was also captured by the horses themselves.
The bags used alternatives to vegan leather, such as MIRUM’s plant-based technology, AppleSkin, an apple-based material that creates a crocodile effect.
It was an upbeat collection — with stunning hints of lemon and cinnabar — that never preached, but celebrated living in harmony.
THE WILD, WILD HORSES OF STELLA
“Have you ever seen a wild horse at a parade or a whisper?” McCartney asked the stunned fashion press on the crowded balcony above the arena, which still smelled of horse meat. She said organizers called her “crazy” for trying to bring wild horses to the show.
However, McCartney said that fall-winter in particular seems like a good time to highlight cruelty-free designs with the unique spectacle of wild animals living, breathing and playing together.
“I really wanted to connect with our counterparts because there’s so much leather and fur and feathers on the runway, especially in the winter,” McCartney told The Associated Press. “I wanted to show that you can do (fashion) differently, you don’t have to kill anything and it can be (just) as luxurious.”
McCartney said horses have a lot of personal meaning to her, from pictures of her mother Linda and sister Mary to the fact that they are “British”, which speaks to the love of horses that runs deep in the UK.
She said the message of the horses “is that they’re alive and the clothes haven’t killed anything, so there’s a kind of celebration of everything that lives in harmony with each other.”
The horse handler was the star of the show. McCartney said she first saw him at a horse show in London and was impressed by his work. “They are his wild horses. He uses no bridles, no saddles, and he is a horse whisperer… These are his little children,” she said. “I can’t even get my dog to do that.”
The AZ Factory show still has a bittersweet edge to it. The brand was created by designer Albert Elbaz just before his death from COVID in 2021.
Elbaz, still reeling from his ouster as longtime Lanvin designer, wanted to create a brand that promoted a new way of luxury—easier for designers, positive and more accessible. AZ Factory was just that. Since his death, guest designers have continued to work for the brand, staying true to its ethos, and Elbaz still feels at home.
Ruffles, frills, belts and ties brought a utilitarian dimension to soft ready-to-wear designs on Monday. There was a sense of relaxation as the models walked calmly in demure platform sandals.
A fur coat with pink circles and a built-in scarf became the overall look, completely covering the model’s ankles in the same material. It was fun and tactile.
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