by Mimi Spencer in Paris
It's official Stella McCartney no longer needs a little help from her dad. Sir Paul was in the front row at Le Jardin de Trocadero for Chloe today, but by the time the show began, all eyes were on the clothes.
In spite of her detractors, 26-year-old McCartney is making a real success at the house: sales of her summer collection - her debut, shown six months ago at L'Opera - were 50 per cent up on Karl Lagerfeld's final season. Real women love her sharp combination of femininity and edge, wearability and attitude. And so do pop stars. Madonna visited the Chloe salon last month to buy armfuls of clothes for her next Ray of Light video. "In this collection I wanted to show more than just clothes," said the designer before the show. "I wanted to tell a story - a day in the life of a modern woman."
McCartney's long day takes in silky, frilled dresses in the colours of spring, men's-style suits with wide pants and long coats, and zip-backed dresses in rich satin the colour of emeralds.
She makes what the fashion pack call "pieces" - mix-and-match items for a wardrobe rather than a top-to-toe look. She mixes checks with stripes, neons and darks, stud-belts and embroidery. Her eye for detail is part of the appeal - for appliqué flowers in faded colours or shocking linings to lurk inside a suit. Some of her designs will go delightfully over the heads of the French: a leather zip top, say, embroidered in rhinestones with the motif "Nice One Cyril".
Add in the cute bags and pink ankle boots and you have a sexy collection to beat any scene in Paris thus far. It had more ideas per square inch than a Mensa convention.
As Yasmin Le Bon sashayed past on the mimosa-lined catwalk, she winked at her daughters in the front row. Or perhaps she was winking at Elvis Costello, an old friend of the McCartney family attending his first fashion show.
Sir Paul and Linda arrived late at the rain-soaked tent erected beneath the legs of the Eiffel Tower. "We flew in specially," said Sir Paul. "And we'll stay for a party later."
"Yes," said Linda, "I am wearing Chloe." Paul wasn't (he'd gone for a Beatles-style jacket), but both McCartney seniors wore prominent anti-fur stickers. When they arrived, a bubbling scrum ensued. But, somehow, it felt like a mere sideshow to Stella's main attraction.
McCartney, McQueen Exhibit Fashion
© The Associated Press
PARIS (AP) - Stella McCartney brought out babes, ``boys'' and plenty of bosoms Wednesday in her second show for Chloe, from lingerie-like disco styles to tailored trouser suits to naughty necklines.
For the disco-queen gals, McCartney created light, summery wear like embroidered slip dresses in satin or chiffon blends, terribly tight and clinging, skirts below knee.
Her program cited global warming as a reason for a collection that looks more summery than wintery. And divas or dazzling creatures that women want to appear as at night are another facet of her generation.
``Sexy without aggression,'' she says.
The lingerie-wearing disco babes got on well with the opposite side of the coin, the day-wear girls such as McCartney, in the tailored suit she wore to take her bow at the end of the show.
The trouser suits McCartney turned out with help from her Savile Row friends were the strongest aspect of the show. Dark gray or Nile green, they had superb tailoring and flashes of satin linings - peach for the light green suit, shocking pink for the deep gray.
Lots of bosoms were falling out of dresses - ones with velvet-print decolletes or slinky diagonally-printed dresses worn with satin stiletto boots.
See-through blouses and lovely embroidered laces under masculine suits got the line together, in a way, for today's confused opinion - workplace woman or sexpot queen? Stella has not made up her mind, but showed the contrasts well.
This show was in a tent in the Trocadero gardens, not the grandeur of the Garnier Opera like last time. But Mum and Pop, Linda and Paul, the former Beatle, applauded their 25-year-old daughter, who dedicated the collection ``to my Mum, consistent to my philosophy of 'mix and match.'''
At Givenchy, Alexander McQueen gave his latest British take for the famous old house, showing near the heliport of Paris.
The premiere guest, ``Titanic'' star Kate Winslet, sat next to Bernard Arnault, chairman of LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy), the owner of Givenchy.
Could she have found something to wear for the upcoming Oscars? McQueen zoomed in on the 1940s - not quite a ``Titanic'' era - and some quite sexy sheaths that looked wearable by stars.
Again, Savile training looked best for ordinary mortals.
McQueen's trouser suits were impeccable, sharp jackets, especially a charcoal double-breasted one, a few versions with printed photographs on them and versions in caramel brocades.
Some trouser suits came out with cropped pants, as in an iridescent red-black suit, worn with the coiffure of the day - a 1940s slick pompadour style.
Other forties influences include the fluffy marabout jackets in blazing blue topping cropped silk pants with high-heeled shoes.
And then the too-tight dresses in leather - combinations of gray jersey and deep red or bright blues, made a striking note. One superb decollete sheath in royal blue leather with eyelet at its knee-length hem could be a big winner.
Other notables included a gold metallic-net sheath with its raised collar
suggesting the Chinese Suzie Wong line McQueen showed in his latest Givenchy
haute couture line.
Paul Checks Stella's Work
PARIS (Reuters) - Proud parents Paul and Linda McCartney were in the
UPDATE: British Stars Take Paris Catwalks Back In Time
By Irwin Arieff
PARIS (Reuters) - British fashion stars Alexander McQueen and Stella
McCartney, daughter of ex-Beatle Paul McCartney, zoomed back to the
McQueen borrowed from 1940s Hollywood gangster films to come up with
The towering, nearly dome-shaped collars on some of his coats and dresses,
Both creators shared a vision in evening wear, however, offering sexy,
To the beat of Michael Jackson, a whining jet engine and a thunderstorm,
One particularly stunning number appeared to be woven of diaphanous
One of the more light-hearted outfits featured a huge electric blue
It made the model look as if she was wearing an entire sheep on her back.
The fuzzy blue fur made a second appearance in a coat with surprisingly
Shiny leather outfits in comic book colors like oxblood red and electric
Ultra-high necks that towered above the head at the back appeared on
McCartney, in her second ready-to-wear show for Chloe, also tailored
But shocking pink and black were the dominant colors, whether in a long
Embroidered flowers, rhinestones and prints that looked like tie-dye
``I loved it. It made me remember what it was like to be 20 in the '70s,
``She managed to infuse the essence of Chloe with a whole new attitude,''
For evening wear, McCartney sent out shimmery gowns in jade, steel blue
For everyday wear, tight-waisted trouser suits in tweedy browns and
For more casual wear, basic black tops and pants were accented with
Whimsical zips also played an important role -- on one pair of trousers
Another odd touch was bright pink shoes -- or black shoes flashing shocking
McCartney's show was even more of a media event than its rivals due
``Live and Let Die,'' the James Bond movie theme sung by her father