McCartney keeps market in mind with pragmatic no-frills show

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The Independent Online

The juxtaposition between masculine and feminine clothing that is establishing itself as a central theme of the forthcoming season has long been key to Stella McCartney's fashion aesthetic. With Courtney Love and Kate Hudson in pride-of-place front-row seats at her show in Paris yesterday it was nothing if not timely that it appeared more dominant than ever.

Oversized black boyfriend jackets and slouchy V-necks looked fine, paired with skinny jeans that buttoned up the side of the ankle. Both are guaranteed to be big sellers. That 1980s stalwart, the sweater dress, also loomed large in cloudy colours, worn with vertiginous black ankle-boots and the grey opaque tights.

Equally in accord with fashion's prevailing mood was a play on volume which, in McCartney's hands was more pragmatic than dramatic: tiny, empire line jackets came out alongside knitwear that looked as if it had grown with age to Sloppy Joe proportions. Crisp little pinafore dresses that embraced a 1960s Carnaby Street view of femininity were less obviously commercial. This was the type of look that would have suited Mia Farrow, circa Rosemary's Baby, down to the ground.

McCartney's latest offering was a what-you-see-is-what-you-get affair, nowhere more amply demonstrated than in evening-wear which favoured more sweater dresses, only this time scattered with sparkle. They were a welcome departure from the endless stream of red carpet gowns so ubiquitous elsewhere in this season's collections.