Stella McCarttney’s Paris show captured the ‘laissez faire’ feel, with loose trousers and swinging, comfortable mid-calf skirts / Getty

It is British designers who are evoking the mood best

Sloppy. That was Stella McCartney’s message for autumn/winter 2015. And it’s meant as the highest of compliments. In fact, with this collection – arguably her best to date, and certainly the finest she’s put out in recent memory – McCartney nailed a fast-emerging mood of the Paris shows.

That’s a sense of laissez faire – not so much louche as downright lazy. Lazy to wear, rather than to make, I mean. Designers are pushing a sense of comfort, of clothing rinsed of structure, stiffness, formality.

It doesn’t sound very French – and, indeed, it is British designers who are evoking the mood best. Compare and contrast the whip-smart styling of thoroughbred Frenchwoman Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski’s Hermes debut, with its high crocodile boots and polished shades of Château Lafite merlot (rich people’s favourite tipple), parchment (richer people’s favourite books) and black (the richest people’s bank accounts) with the scruff-bags that slumped their way down McCartney’s catwalk. There’s a world of difference, and while one made an attractive image, the other seemed far more attractive to cosy up in.

 

There was something oddly appealing, in terms of the tactile and the aesthetic; to her crunchy ribbed knits in Quaker oats shades; to her pre-pilled, mushy tailoring sliding about the body. There were a few corsets and tight-tugged belts to anchor all that fabric in place, but largely it just swung, confidently, around the body.

This collection seemed like the purest essence of how Stella McCartney, and no one else, wants modern women to look, and perhaps more importantly, to feel. And that’s comfortable, from swingy mid-calf skirts, bouncing freely, to puffed-out hairy coats.

Of course, the latter were in stringy knit – McCartney staunchly eschewing either animal skin or fur. In a fashion industry that increasingly relies on those instead of innovative design to net customers and raise profits, her stance is worthy of note, and praise.

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