Earlier this month, Stella McCartney took the floor of the Centre Pompidou in Paris where she showcased her collection featuring vegan grape leather.
Her show – Stella by Stella – is inspired by the American painter and sculptor Frank Stella and celebrates the artist.
On the sunshine-strewn morning of March 7, fashion models strutted along the Perspex tubes in the building with natural light passing through the rooftops. An audio pastiche of American presidents talking about peace and war boomed over the speakers, accompanying the models.
The Stella By Stella Collection
Frank Stella’s art came through in the designs both overtly and subtly: intriguing shapes from his V Series were witnessed in color-blocked knitwear sets and mannish jacquard wool coats.
Elsewhere, tailoring featured graphic prints that were based on his work named Spectralia, also seen on glossy lurex evening dresses with dropped waists and billowing sleeves.
McCartney also created a beautiful take on an artist’s working uniform, which included utilitarian jumpsuits remade in deep burgundy velvet featuring contrast stitching and recycled polyester clip belts, as well as oversized shirting with accentuated breast pockets.
Also spotted were faux fur coats with strong shoulders that boosted the everyday wear alongside shoulder bags made using vegan leather alternatives.
Models carried squishy shoulder bags with tonal chunky Perspex chains in colors of powder blue, camel, and lilac. These practical, statement bags weren’t just understatedly cool but were ethically made from leather alternatives: the first featured grape leather made with grape waste sourced from Italian wineries and the other, Mylo, a mushroom leather material made from mycelium that McCartney has previously worked with.
The vegan grape leather was also utilized in sneaker shoes, while puffy-soled slides were created from factory scrap. An astonishing 67% of the fur, feather, and the leather-free collection was produced from eco-friendly materials.
McCartney dedicated her show to the people impacted by Ukraine’s war and revealed she had made a contribution to CARE, an organization focused on providing immediate crisis help to four million Ukrainians, mostly women, children, the elderly, and families. Her show notes read, “Give peace a chance”, a phrase tying back to her father Paul McCartney’s band The Beatles.
At The Forefront of Vegan Fashion
As conversations around circular economy and sustainable fashion have ramped up significantly in recent years, innovative start-ups are coming forth with solutions offering vegan leather alternatives for the fashion industry including cactus and apple leather.
Since its inception in 2001, The Stella McCartney brand has been free of leather, fur, feather, and animal skins, way before veganism entered the mainstream.
The London-based label has also been angora-free since 2013, stopped the use of vegan cashmere in 2016, and the use of mohair in 2018. In addition, the brand is committed to using regenerated nylon, forest-friendly viscose, animal-free glue, recycled polyester, and organic cotton.