She may be more "Clueless" than couture, but 26-year-old Stella
McCartney has big plans for her Chloe debut. Katherine Betts talks to the
designer about her girly global style.
"Phoebe darling? I'm going to need a big cup of java," says Stella
McCartney as she pulls herself up to her turquoise-blue desk in the Chloe
design studio. "I hate asking people to do stuff for me," she says,
She'd better get used to it. As the new designer for the house
McCartney's got her work cut out for her. And though the whole world
is watching, you'd never know it. The scene in the Chloe studio, where
Stella's currently gearing up for her Paris runway debut in October, is
more "Clueless" than "Absolutely Fabulous". Beneath a gigantic
turquoise Venetian-glass chandelier, Stella and Phoebe -- McCartney's
trusty London sidekick, who sports a gold tooth and favors
metallic-striped nail tips and blue eye shadow -- chatter incessantly
about such fashionable pastimes as snowboarding in Sun Valley,
trekking in Nepal, and the fab flea-market finds they've unearthed on
London's Portobello Road. Talking to them is like rehearsing a walk-on
part in "Romy and Michele's High School Reunion."
A governess-like older woman with a tobacco-deep voice dashes in and
out of the room, talking above the high-decibel disco playing on the
stereo. "They're so cute," she says. "They always listen to music.
They're HAPPY." Stella's and Phoebe's desks are stacked with familiar
tchotchkes [what are they when they're at home?] - Paris-London train
schedules, vases filled with cabbage roses, neon-bright plastic
ashtrays, and head shots of up-and-coming models. ("We're only using
new girls," Stella insists.) The bulletin boards are covered with photos
of makeup and jewelry ideas (feather earrings, chokers), and scrawled
notes that read like homeroom messages: "photographer's we've seen
and like: Perry Ogden, Tim Walker, Kim Andreoli ..." Then there's the
"Crazy Freak Zone," which features tiny cut-up paparazzi pictures of
people in the industry - Gianfranco Ferre with Donatella Versace's hair,
Andre Leon Talley's head on a Badgley Mischka dress, Elizabeth Hurley
in lederhosen [I'd love to see that one ;-)].
"We're in there, too, don't worry," Stella pipes up. She's all
curls in a ruffled forties flea-market dress she ripped down the front to
make sexier, a tailored tweed frock coat she designed herself, and a
headful of strawberry-blonde hair. She reaches into a stack of mail and
pulls out what looks like a personal letter. "Uh-oh, another freak letter,"
she says, wincing. A fan has enclosed a photo, requesting an autograph
from Stella's famous dad. "Scary. We get a lot of these. You know what?
I'm just gonna toss it." [beware!]
It bugs Stella that people think she got the job because she's Paul
McCartney's daughter. But it bugs her even more that they think she
doesn't deserve it because of her age. "So what! People do things
when they're young. The Beatles wrote Sgt. Pepper when they were
26," she says, crossing her arms and trying not to laugh at her
reference. Although the British press gave her a hard time when she
got the Chloe job, the Poo-Bahs at her alma mater, London's Central Saint
Martins school, defend McCartney's talent, saying she got in -- and out --
of their bachelor of arts program on merit. "We didn't know who she
was," says masters director Louise Wilson. [yeah, right] "There are a lot
of McCartneys in England, you know. If she'd been John Lennon's
daughter, maybe it would have been different."
Anyway, McCartney adds, she fell into fashion rather haphazardly.
Although clothes were always a passion, and her mom sure had a lot of
them, Stella couldn't really decide whether to go "trekking with a
rucksack" or start her own business when she graduated from school.
"It all sort of happened very quickly. I just sarted making clothes for my
friends. I didn't think about it really." Her saucer-round eyes widen, and
a big grin spreads across her face. "So you can just write, 'She's a
VERY lucky girl.'"
sent in to MACCACentral by Amy Parker