It was the turn of Stella McCartney to show on the Paris catwalk yesterday at the impressively grand Opéra Garnier and with father, Sir Paul, as always, on the front row. It's 10 years since McCartney joined forces with the Gucci Group that today owns 50 per cent of her business (the other 50 per cent is in her name), and she has now found her stride.
A relaxed attitude was achieved by basing at least some of the collection on a masculine silhouette: roomy jumpsuits, a chunky sweater in shades of red and strong-shouldered tailored jackets were all borrowed from menswear. So, too, were some of the prettiest prints seen in Paris so far. Paisleys – prevalent across the board for next season – polka dots, diamonds and flowers were of the sort that might normally grace a gentleman's silk dressing gown or cravat. They looked great across shirt-waisters, feather-light trousers and – a more overtly feminine flourish – body-skimming mini-dresses with undulating embroidered edges. The latter were fused with hi-tech sportswear fabrics as were signature vintage lingerie-inspired designs.
McCartney is one of the few designers who refuses to work with fur, feathers or even leather, yet her accessories are successful nonetheless. With that in mind, the Stella McCartney customer will doubtless be more than happy with organic cotton bags dangling from brass chains, padded scuba clutches with a sculpted wave detail, barely there strappy sandals with stiletto heels and – for those who prefer their footwear flat – super-cute pool shoes.
Last month it was announced that the British designer, Giles Deacon, would be leaving his position as creative director of Emanuel Ungaro. Ungaro CEO Jeffry Aronsson confirmed at the time that the decision to split was a mutual one. Regardless of the reasons for the change, Ungaro is clearly struggling; the house has been through no fewer than six designers in the same number of years. Its forthcoming collection reflected "the work of the design team" – and it showed. It was not only lacking in direction but also had little of the opulence for which this once grand fashion name is known.
Emanuel Ungaro retired in 2005 and the house was sold to internet entrepreneur Asim Abdullah, who famously employed Lindsay Lohan as artistic director in 2009. Her collaboration with Estrella Archs, then designing the label, was universally panned, and Lohan left after only one season. Archs soon followed to set up her own line.
For spring/summer 2012, the Ungaro studio sent out splashy prints in shades of marine blue and green with accents of red stamped on everything from sun dresses to trouser suits, more dresses in dark ruched jersey and a single gown that appeared to be aimed at the red carpet and was encrusted with crystal and coins.