Stella McCartney Moves into Menswear

Stella McCartney Moves into Menswear

After 15 years in the business, designer Stella McCartney steps into the world of menswear. What took her so long?

After 15 years in the business, designer Stella McCartney steps into the world of menswear. What took her so long?

Text: Priya Rao

“What do men want?” This was the elusive question Stella McCartney faced before creating her first menswear collection. She took her time coming up with an answer, 15 years in fact, which is how long it’s been since her eponymous women’s line launched its offering of real, everyday clothing with a twist, like her Gary Hume–illustrated jumpsuits and “Slippery When Wet” T-shirt dresses. “There was always a reason not to, [but] all of a sudden it was the right moment,” she says of her new designs for guys, which debuted in London early November and hit stores in December. “It just felt right to introduce the man to the Stella woman. We have a voice and a language that we’ve created for our women and it is global, ageless…and there’s an element of humor to it. I wanted to bring that to the menswear,” she explains.

McCartney, who trained with tailor Edward Sexton on Saville Row while at Central Saint Martins, first began to expand her language of menswear through the subjects on whom she practiced, namely her husband Alasdhair Willis. “How he wears his clothes was inspiring to see; he wants to have a conversation with the outside world through what he wears,” she says. The same goes for her father, the former Beatle and 18-time Grammy Award–winning musician: “There’s an element of reality and non-reality in a lot of his wardrobe, because on stage he has specific time frames attached to it, so it’s both emotional and visual.” McCartney also gained experience by designing bespoke pieces for Guy Ritchie and the late David Bowie.

The men’s fashion scene has been predominantly influenced by male designers, like Dior Homme’s Kris van Assche and Lanvin’s Lucas Ossendrijver, so McCartney’s arrival into the fray—following in the footsteps of Miuccia Prada—is certainly welcome. Male customers can expect McCartney’s effortlessly modern point of view, which is as cool as Stella herself. Looks from the new men’s collection run the gamut from slim black suits paired with athletic slides and socks to tailored herringbone overcoats married with graphic T-shirts and track pants, all of which she calls “moments of life.” “Sometimes menswear houses can be a little bit too precise or a little too uptight or a little too strict in their approach, and for me it was to really introduce some other kind of touch within those frameworks,” she says of the collection’s overall aesthetic. Ultimately, McCartney wants her designs to have a utilitarian sensibility, one that can readily transition from meetings in London’s Square Mile to excursions in Mexico City. “These pieces are meant to be worn; we’re not creating fashion for men that is extreme,” McCartney emphasizes.

To that point, McCartney has adopted a seasonless mentality toward her designs, one that also corresponds nicely with her practical see-now, buy-now schedule. “Men don’t buy clothes and then throw them away each season,” she offers. “I’m creating clothes that are to be invested in, for them to be timeless or to either come back around into your eyeline after a few seasons.” If McCartney’s giant womenswear business is any indication, here’s betting that men will be totally enamored by the designer come winter.

Stella McCartney for men is available at stellamccartney.com

Credits: Images courtesy of Stella McCartney

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