Stella McCartney plots menswear move

The label will make its debut in November and arrive in stores before Christmas.

Meryl D'Souza July 4, 2016

In 1997, a 26-year-old woman was named creative director at Chloé. The move sent ripples through the fashion fraternity.

The young woman taking up the role at the French fashion house was an outsider, an unknown in the fashion world. But even though she had not done anything of note she was already a celebrity. Being Sir Paul McCartney’s daughter will do that to you. 

Karl Lagerfeld, the man she replaced, told Women’s Wear Daily, “Chloé should have taken a big name. They did, but in music, not fashion. Let’s hope she’s as gifted as her father.”

A statement like that had the potential to doom Stella McCartney’s embryonic career before it was even ready to take off. But the fashion overlord and any other closet haters were made to eat humble pie as McCartney oversaw Chloé’s renaissance and left in 2001 to start her own eponymous label.

In truth, she should not have been judged so harshly. After all McCartney’s rise was not from nepotism. She honed her skills with tailor Edward Sexton on Savile Row after graduating from London's acclaimed design school Central St. Martins in 1995. 

Since moving on from Chloé, McCartney created an empire. One that would make her a global name in fashion much like how her father was one for music. She built her identity around being a “woman designing for women,” as she told The Guardian in 2014. Only two years since that statement, Ms McCartney will now abandon it as she follows in the footsteps of Lanvin, Christian Dior and Louis Vuitton and takes the plunge into menswear.

The announcement came fittingly amidst the Pitti Uomo menswear trade fair madness in Florence, though rumours of McCartney’s plans to expand with a men’s line have been swirling for months.

The men’s line will debut on November 10 in London beside her spring women’s collection and will hit shelves in early December. Unlike her women’s line, her menswear collection will not be associated with any particular season. According to The New York Times, her theory is that men buy differently from women. They see something, and if they like it, they want to get it immediately. They do not think in trends. 

In case you’re worried, this won’t be McCartney’s first menswear rodeo. Besides designing suits for both her husband, Alasdhair Willis, and her father Sir Paul (both above), she’s also done a few bespoke pieces for Guy Ritchie and the late David Bowie.

She also designed the sportswear attire for the male and female members of Great Britain's London 2012 Olympic team, in collaboration with Adidas. Although like her womenswear line, McCartney’s menswear line will also be vegan friendly: leather and fur-free creations.

The step to design menswear makes sense. Men’s fashion has seen a radical change over the years and today, men are shopping just as much as women. In fact, in the past five years, sales of luxury menswear have grown almost twice as fast as sales of womenswear. 

McCartney seems to understand that this is the best time to make the switch, and the fashion world will be watching in four months' time.