Stella McCartney opened the proceedings at the Paris collections yesterday at the Hôtel de Ville, the neo-Gothic city hall, and a reminder of the French capital's historic power and grandeur. Beneath the building's monumental, gilded, vaulted ceiling, models stepped out in the sort of oversized broad-shouldered masculine tailoring that is sweeping the runways and looks set to be a major trend.
McCartney made it appear cleverly commercial: some of the world's more directional designers' takes on the theme have been extreme. Also borrowed from menswear were boyfriend-style, tufted alpaca and mohair patchworked sweaters, cotton shirting and low-slung trousers.
"Cutting into the tradition of English countryside with urban energy," the show notes read. With that in mind, bonded tweeds boasted striped, ribbed wool collars and cuffs. More overtly feminine – in fact, hyper-feminine – were moulded hour-glass dresses, in more tweed or Aran knitwear, that emphasised any curves but stood away from the body, masking the actual shape of the woman within.
Guaranteed to set the flashbulbs popping – if only, by contrast – were micro-minis where wool was fused with technical stretch fabric. These looked less modern and overly derivative to boot. McCartney is not the only designer to plunder the past work of Balenciaga designer Nicolas Ghesquière for inspiration but this was a little too close for comfort.
Continuing her mission to eschew leather or fur, the shoes she teamed with her clothes had white, rubber platform soles – McCartney pointed out that this material was "bio-degradable" – and the new "Betty" envelope bag is crafted in faux leather edged in "mock croc".