Shy Stella McCartney strides into top Paris house of fashion

Stella McCartney, 25, daughter of ex Beatle Sir Paul, has succeeded Karl Lagerfeld as chief designer at the French house Chloe, to the amazement of the British fashion establishment.

The appointment of Ms McCartney has come as a complete surprise because of her apparent lack of experience. She graduated from St Martin's college in London only two years ago, has never held a catwalk show and has only produced three small collections available exclusively through London and New York boutiques. Though she has never been one to seek the limelight personally or professionally, with her best friends including the models Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss she doesn't need too.

In fashion-land new design appointments are big news. John Galliano's appointment to Christian Dior last October, which was closely followed by Alexander McQueen's arrival at Givenchy, pushed British fashion pundits into a state of hysteria, and the French establishment into shock.

Ms McCartney's collections to date have been a fusion of the mannish tailoring techniques she picked up on Savile Row, and the lingerie-style dresses and skirts inspired by her time at Christian Lacroix and her collection of vintage underwear. "I am not a chick for seasonal dressing," she has said, "and it's important to have the feminine and masculine thing combined."

Kate Moss loves her clothes as do the top American fashion editors who swoop on her west London flat every time they visit Britain. They invariably buy her wispy slip dresses sprinkled with beads and team them with long- tailored jackets that have "Whistle and Flute" embroidered into the lining. Katie Grand, fashion editor of the magazine Dazed & Confused is also a big fan. She said: "I think it's brilliant news. Chloe are obviously taking a risk with her, and good for them."

Some cynics may well be thinking that Ms McCartney's appointment is a PR exercise, riding on the Brit-fash wave and using the illustrious McCartney name. To some extent they would be right. It worked for Bernard Arnault, owner of Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH), when he orchestrated the Dior and Givenchy deal with Galliano and McQueen which revived the fortunes of both companies. Vendome, which also owns Cartier, Piaget, the Karl Lagerfeld line and Alfred Dunhill, are using McCartney in the same way, but with a long-term goal - to revive interest in the company which was worth pounds 524m in 1994.

Chloe embodied fashion in the late Seventies. It was diaphanous, colourful and served as high fashion's interpretation of the gypsy look. Throughout the Eighties Lagerfeld's kudos kept the label going, but in 1988 Martine Sitbon changed the mood from floaty and ethereal to more toned-down tailoring.

Ms McCartney's appointment will fuse the two key elements that have kept the company going - the masculine and the feminine - and could well attract the young customers lured away in recent years by hot new labels such as Prada and the re-vamped Gucci.

Yesterday Ms McCartney made her first visit to the Chloe atelier at the Rue du Faubourg St-Honore in Paris. A spokeswoman said: "She is so excited about this post, Stella has been meeting everyone today, and practising her French." The deal, for five years, is for an undisclosed sum, but she will be on a very healthy salary, probably in the region of pounds 100,000. Her first collection showing this autumn will make her the youngest chief designer in Paris. Her own label will be discontinued, but one thing is for sure: this McCartney will be bringing a breath of fresh air to the label, and a bevy of supermodel fans.

Lagerfeld's swan-song for Chloe took place in Paris last month to a backdrop of kitsch props with models wandering around like lost sheep. It was seen by many as an exercise in frivolity by the Chanel, Fendi and own-label designer who had worked for Chloe from 1965-1983 and then from 1992. As a result, there was little speculation on a successor, but many believed it would be Peter O'Brien, head designer at Rochas, who worked at Chloe in 1986-87 or the Brit, Antonio Berardi, who was also approached by directors at Vendome, the company who own the label.

McCartney clan determined to stay out of the limelight

Sir Paul McCartney has determinedly shielded his children from the showbusiness limelight.

Nevertheless, with an ex-Beatle for a father and the nation's best-known vegetarian for a mother, they inevitably make the headlines: Heather, 34, the eldest and Linda's daughter from a previous marriage, makes designer pottery; Mary, 27, is an accomplished photographer and picture editor with her father's music publishing company, MPL Communications and James, 19, is a student who has yet to choose a career.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
a clockwork orange, stanley kubrick
The Tesco Hudl2: An exceptional Android tablet that's powerful, well-built and outstanding value

Life and Style
food + drinkAuthor DBC Pierre presents his guide to the morning after
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Life and Style
food + drink
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas