Sweets And Other Treats At Stella’s Pre-Fall Presentation

It may have been bitter outside, but “sweet” was the word du jour at Stella McCartney‘s autumn 2011 presentation, held at a private townhouse in the West Village. Once we checked our coats and made our way to the second floor, the first thing we saw were models lounging — yes, lounging — and toasting marshmallows (whilst sipping champagne, natch) in front of the fireplace. We suppose s’mores would have been too messy of an undertaking.

But that wasn’t all. On the same floor, the dining room boasted a table filled with sweet concoctions — from french macaroons to candy hued merinques to scrumptious cupcakes and cookies — that would have made Marie Antoinette blush.

But there may have been a method to the madness after all. As Neiman Marcus’s Ken Downing put it, this collection represents a “real return to a polished approach to lady-like chic with a modernist twist.” “It is interesting,” he adds, “that she set this polite culture in this environment,” thereby signalling a “return to refined elegance.”

The collection certainly seems to bear this out. The clean, modern shapes that have become a signature of McCartney’s collections remained an essential part of the looks, but there was also a plethora of far less neutral tones, often in the form of geometric prints superimposed on textured knits or matte silk pieces. Kirna Zabate’s Sarah Easley was particularly enamored with the palette of the bright jeweled tones, specifically the emerald hues. “The thing is,” she continued, “is that you can wear head to toe McCartney without feeling like a fashion victim.” Kirna’s other half, Beth Buccini, echoed the sentiment: “Stella is what you wear on a Tuesday. It’s real fashion, and is perfect for right now.”

As top editors and buyers the likes of Meredith Melling Burke, Virginia Smith, Jim Gold and Roopal Patel perused the collection while sipping on champagne (all the bartenders sported mustaches, for a reason that escapes me) and nippling on light as air confections (at least until the chef brought out an English-style trifle for an encore), we took a closer look at the accessories, whose quality and style are all the more impressive given McCartney’s well-known devotion to cruelty-free design (“I don’t know how she does it!,” raved Teen Vogue editor Amy Astley).

Particular items that caught our fancy were: a camel saddle bag made of recycled corduroy and trimmed with contrast piping; a square tone patent pump complete with a gold framed chunky heel, and a showpiece box clutch miniaudiere made of recycled shell and brass that would be perfect for nearly any evening affair.

Back to the clothes, our favorite look of the evening may have been a red, patent trench sported by the gorgeous up-and-coming model Arizona Muse, who had her fitting exactly one hour before the presentation began. This is not the first Stella McCartney collection for which she has modeled (she also did the Spring/Summer collection), but this is the first time she has done so without the presence of the designer, who had her fourth child three months ago and thus was unable to attend.

Yet her much missed absence did not put a damper on the evening’s festivities. Towards the end of the presentation/cocktail fete, the acapella doo-wop group Spank performed flawless covers of motown classics from the likes of “The Temptations” to “The Four Tops.” According to Zenith Media’s Michael Miraflor, the group gathers on Soho Street corners during the weekends, attracting crowds in the hundreds. It was an appropriate way to close out the fete — just a little bit of soul mixed in with all of that sweetness.

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