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Fur-clad rivals left green with envy as Stella McCartney sticks to eco-chic


The invitation to the show was a plastic polar bear and the entry card called for the species to be saved, so it was of little surprise that the hottest ticket at the ready-to-wear shows in Paris came with an environmental message too.

Stella McCartney, well known for her vegan views, continued her ethical trend today as she presented her autumn/winter collection.

While fur is more prevalent on the catwalk this season than it has been for years, she must be congratulated for her continuing commitment to avoid it or to even use leather for her label. And given her brand’s success – with profits up to £2.9m last year – McCartney has proven that being principled doesn’t necessarily harm revenue.

Elsewhere in the fashion industry, it is a different story. Real fur is noticeably on the increase, with sales up 70 per cent in the last decade. This week Parisian design houses including  Loewe, Celine and Lanvin have all  put fur of some kind on the catwalk, be it a fur coat or a dress with a fur belt, as did Giambattista Valli, who also  presented his collection yesterday.

That wasn’t the case for Stella McCartney as actress Jessica Alba, U2 singer Bono and TV star Nicole Richie joined McCartney’s father, Sir Paul, in the front row of the magnificent interior of the Opera Garnier.

Her models walked through the monumental building, with gilded ceilings hung with lavish chandeliers, wearing her trademark broad-shouldered masculine tailoring – a cut McCartney does so well.

This time it was delivered in navy double-sided stretch pinstripe. Also on show were roomy cocoon coats, which will keep her loyal fans warm next winter. They might be tempted to try a pinstriped puffer jacket too, which strangely worked very well.

Tailoring was a key element to the collection, and necklines and bodices of dresses were given an androgynous edge, finished with suit jacket lapels.

More boyish charm was evident with soft ribbed wool tracksuits – possibly a nod towards last year’s sports-fuelled year for the Team GB kit designer – and clumpy boots made, of course, out of imitation leather.

Completing the theme were box  and clutch bags framed using eco-laminated wood. Perhaps others will be taking note.