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Paris fashion week: Stella McCartney unveils ‘fur-free fur’

What gets a supermodel out of bed in the morning? Linda Evangelista once famously said it was nothing less than $10,000. For Cara Delevingne, it seems a Stella McCartney fashion show is enough – but only just.

“You made it!” exclaimed McCartney in surprise as Delevingne appeared backstage today, weaving in amongst the catwalk models filing in from the finale. “10 minutes ago, they told me you were still in bed. But look, you’ve got a face on and everything,” she said, noting the smoky eye make-up and giving Delevingne a hug. “Yeah, I just woke up,” the model replied, talking through her camera-ready smile as the paparazzi closed in on the pair. “I’ve still got my make-up on from last night.”

Cara Delevingne, takes a photographer with Woody Harrelson, Kanye West and Paul McCartney prior to the Stella McCartney show.

Moments earlier, Delevingne had posed as part of this season’s front-row-at-Stella show with her model sister Poppy and the actor Woody Harrelson; next to Harrelson was Kanye West, who chatted with his recent musical collaborator Paul McCartney.

Nonetheless, all eyes were on the catwalk, where McCartney – lifelong vegetarian and pioneer of cruelty free, non-leather shoes and handbags – had a surprise for the audience: glamorous, shiny, shaggy (and completely fake) fur coats.

McCartney’s strict anti-fur policy has until now extended to an antipathy to fake fur, because “modern fake fur looks so much like real fur, that the moment it leaves the atelier no one can tell it’s not the real thing. And I’ve struggled with that. But I’ve been speaking to younger women about it recently and they don’t even want real fur. So I feel like maybe things have moved on, and it’s time, and we can do fabrics which look like fur, if we take them somewhere else.”

The long-haired synthetic coats, hand-embroidered with geometric patterns, will be sold with a specially made label proudly proclaiming ‘Fur Free Fur’ stitched somewhere visible, such as the wrist or the nape of the neck.

Ankle-length knits kept one-shoulder bare to reveal a touch of sensuality.

The newly relaxed mood that ushered in this change defined the rest of the collection too. It was a strong season for McCartney, one in which her intention, as stated after the show – “to allow the Stella woman to unravel a little, to take her on a journey away from precision, to go somewhere softer and warmer” – was clearly illustrated on the catwalk. Tailored coats had soft, fluted hems; knits were ankle-length and cosy, but with one shoulder exposed to keep a hint of sensuality. Boiled felts and loosely woven tweeds gave a country air softness to trouser-and-jacket combinations. (Technically, suits; but with their dressing-gown belts and floor-brushing wide hems, that seems the wrong word.)

Eveningwear – of the modern variety, not the gowns-and-gems kind – looked instantly desirable. The little black dresses, cutaway in asymmetric panels, were as modern as the moulded and twisted pearl necklaces worn with them. Trousers were worn with draped blouses which began with a hidden corset base, but were finished with loose, easy fabrics for a winning combination of silhouette and nonchalance.

Models display Stella McCartney’s eveningwear.

“We spent a lot of time on eveningwear this season,” McCartney said backstage. “What you wear in the evening is important for women, because it’s so personal, and it’s so complicated to get it right. I like trousers for evening, especially when they have that width and attitude to them.”

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