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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A Stella Performance

By Haidee Findlay-Levin...

Giving in to the suppressed urge for retail therapy, I popped into Barneys New York yesterday for Stella McCartney's trunk show, which gave me a chance to see the collection up close. Better still, Stella was there in person for a Q&A with the wonderfully witty Simon Doonan.

I knew Stella from my early styling days in London. I remember being at her precious jewel box of a studio in Notting Hill (when Phoebe Philo was still her assistant) at the moment Madonna's office called for the first time. I was amazed that the potentially blasé daughter of a Beatle could be excited by celebrity.

Stella is now, incredibly, a mother of three and running her own international clothing, accessory and beauty empire, plus designing a collaboration with Adidas. When Simon asked if she would like to do menswear, she answered with a resounding yes. Why not? She trained, post-Central Saint Martins, with a bespoke tailor who worked under the notorious Tommy Nutter. Suiting has been a part of her signature since her student days, even before her tenure at Chloé.

Now, as everyone knows, Stella is a lifelong vegetarian and promotes a cruelty-free ethos in her personal and professional lives. Although she passes no judgment on others, she is well-known for her staunch opposition to leather, designing all her accessories—shoes, bags, belts, etc.—in alternative materials. For this, she has drawn a lot of respect in an industry that loves all things animal: leather, exotic skins, fur and so on.

So, right then, just as I was thinking about her noble aversion to animal-made products, it happened. It. You know! I, a fellow vegetarian, unwittingly made the ultimate Stella faux pas by wearing not only the fairly forgivable leather boots and a leather bag, but also my Acne leather tunic complete with a jumbo leather and metal Tuareg [North African] necklace! I listened uneasily as she spoke about her affection for the jumpsuit, desperate to crawl into and disappear in one of them. But I rallied, hid part of my outfit under my short coat and I went to say hello, for old times' sake. And in true Stella form, she put (visible) judgment aside and was all compliments on my appearance.



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Monday, March 16, 2009

Goyard Girl

Christopher Bailey may have been running late to the airport, but that didn't stop us from grabbing a pic of him with Julie Gilhart—not to mention Simon Doonan sporting his new monogrammed Goyard bags—at a Barneys party to celebrate Burberry menswear and Gossip Girl's Ed Westwick...

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