Stella stars beneath the chandeliers

 

Stella McCartney opened the proceedings at the Paris collections yesterday, choosing as her location the Opera Garnier.

With father, Sir Paul, in pride of place in the front row, if the Napoleonic splendour of the surroundings couldn't have been more spectacularly ornate, the clothes, conversely, were a continuation of the easy, minimal style the designer first sent out a year ago. And that is clearly intentional: it has been received as a much welcome and pragmatic wardrobe solution by women the world over.

The silhouette was more masculine this time around: an exaggerated broad shoulder was played off against a narrow bottom-half throughout.

Otherwise, though, the look was relaxed, subtly indebted to sportswear – a leather baseball jacket sleeve on a roomy overcoat; a pencil dress with a narrow racer back and midnight blue velvet bonded to neoprene – and with barely an extraneous detail to be seen.

If the first decade of the 21st century will go down in history as the era of the heavily embellished short, sharp cocktail dress, this no-frills approach appears to be the way forward for now and McCartney is a designer who understands it well.

The exception that proved the rule? The odd jolt of burnished old gold and felted wool paillettes scattered across panels of silk tulle that exuded a futuristic and quintessentially Gallic appeal.

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