Stellar fashion designer Stella McCartney has taken her commitment to the animals and the planet a step further with her latest show. 

 She has been campaigning for more responsible luxury from the very beginning. A commitment that is in tune with the times, highlighted in particular through her choice of garments and the recent launch of the green alternative to animal fur: Koba.

On March 2, the designer presented her Fall/Winter 2020-2021 collection at the Palais Garnier. A wardrobe that is an ally of everyday life, inspired by “the fearless, the pioneers, the disruptors, the visionaries“, and for which each piece was designed using regenerated and traceable materials.

But it was really the finale of this show that aroused the curiosity of the guests. To close this collection, the designer invited a handful of models in animal costumes (cow, crocodile, rabbit and horse), who handed out tree shrubs for replanting with a message that they would absorb the CO2 emitted by the runway show so that its carbon footprint would be totally neutral. Planting trees was posed as part of the solution. In short, an effective way to get a message across while making a little more commitment to the environment.

The singer Janelle Monáe and actor Shailene Woodley were in the front row, but two rabbits, a fox, a horse, two cows and a crocodile stole the show. People in lifesize animal costumes, of the kind more usually seen at theme park parades than at Paris fashion week, joined models for the finale of Stella McCartney’s show, swinging their new-season handbags and posing for the cameras. In a world clogged with too much stuff, any designer who can produce more of their own without harming animals, and by extension the environment, is onto something.

The optics were fun, but the message was serious – that there are animals on almost every catwalk, it’s just that they are usually dead. The half-moon shoulder bag carried jauntily by a brown cow here was made from a vegan alternative to leather, while other bags were created from second-life plastic.

“What we try to do here at Stella is to sugarcoat a powerful, meaningful message in a little bit of humour and fun, to make our point in a palatable and digestible way so that people listen,” said McCartney. “These animals are the ingredients of everyone else’s fashion shows. We are the only luxury fashion house in the world that isn’t killing animals on the runway. I wanted to make that point, but in a joyous way.”

The Stella McCartney brand has worked without leather, fur, skins, feathers or animal glues since its launch in 2001, “but it has taken me my entire career to get the fabrics to the stage they are at now, where our animal-free leather is soft enough, and has enough luxury to it,” the designer said after the show.

This collection featured more leather alternatives than ever before, not only in bags and shoes but in decoratively perforated lightweight trench coats and fluffy shagpile shearlings. “We do it like this because it’s better for the animals and better for the planet.”

Last year, McCartney sold a stake in her brand to LVMH in a deal that gave her a role as special adviser on sustainability to the luxury group’s chairman and chief executive, Bernard Arnault. The role poses a challenge – Arnault was widely criticised last year after describing Greta Thunberg as “demoralising” – but McCartney is confident she can have an impact.

“I think the sheer fact that he has invested his time and his money and mindset into a different business model [at Stella] already has an impact. You don’t come on board at Stella and not start to think differently. My goal is to make changes more broadly at LVMH. Mr Arnault’s goal is to respond to what people are asking for today, and to learn, and to change.”

McCartney described her role so far as “about bringing information, talking about alternatives in manufacturing and sourcing. I’m introducing the technologies and techniques and suppliers that we use here at Stella to the other LVMH brands.”

Original source: https://www.theguardian.com/