Fashion: Why Chloe's tomorrow will be stellar as yesterday
Wednesday 15 October 1997
What do you do with a fashion house that was a happening label in the Seventies but had recently become a fashion joke? How do you wangle it back into favour with stylish, affluent young women, not to mention Madonna, Kate, Naomi, Helena and Patsy Kensit? Simple. You employ Stella McCartney, 25-year-old daughter of Sir Paul and veggie queen Linda, and great girlie friend of all of the above, as chief designer. This morning she will step on to the Paris catwalk at the end of her first show for Chloe.
She is a dream come true. Not only is she who she is; she decided at 15 that she wanted to be a fashion designer, worked at Christian Lacroix as a studio slave before taking a degree at Central Saint Martin's because it was simply the best place for fashion. She even fitted in a bit of serious graft for Knightsbridge tailor Edward Sexton to learn the craft of tailoring.
It took her less than two years between graduation from Central St Martin's - with a final show featuring her friends Kate and Naomi - and taking over at Chloe. Could her name have anything to do with it? Her new status in life, as a designer on the same level as Alexander McQueen at Givenchy and John Galliano at Dior, has everything to do with the power to generate headlines. Money cannot buy what Stella has got. When her parents cheer her on, as they are expected to this morning when Stella unveils not just her first collection for Chloe but her first catwalk collection since she graduated from Central Saint Martin's in 1995, it will not be a career move worthy of cynicism. It will simply be a mother and father beaming proudly at a daughter peaking early in her chosen field.
When she stepped through the doors at Chloe's headquarters on Rue Faubourg St Honore back in April and met all 80 of its employees, she was already famous as the daughter of a Beatle. So, long before her first collection, the fashion world's perceptions of the house had shed about 30 years and gained an equal amount of credibility. Chloe is a girl about town again; she goes to every party worth being seen at. There she is, sitting on Antonio Berardi's knee at Yasmin le Bon's birthday party at Les Bains. And oh, darling! How sweet of Madonna to throw a party in London to celebrate her new job. And did you see her hanging out backstage at Glastonbury with Robbie Williams? The last time I saw her was at the wedding of Kirsty Hume and Donovan Leitch, with Sophia Coppola, Helena Christensen and the rest of the "in" crowd. Already, the house has taken on Stella's own personality, and a little of her sister-in-arms Phoebe Philo. And that's before we've even seen a stitch.
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