The most compelling thing about Stella McCartney's pre-collection parties? It's not the promise of celebrity sightings, even if there were plenty of those tonight. And it's not the lure of free Champagne, either, although that was also in abundance at the Americas Society. The really savvy thing is the way McCartney insinuates her models into the crowd. Sure, in head-to-toe looks fresh from the studio, they're the chicest girls in the room, but on the other hand, they almost blend in among the editors and buyers and boldfacers. "Clothes you can wear, that don't wear you" is a cliché, but it's a cliché that fits here, and it's the key to McCartney's success. A year from now, the same editors and buyers and boldfacers will be wearing these clothes in their everyday lives.

McCartney's approach to pre-fall: "to address every need of the modern woman's wardrobe." She clearly has a thing for coats, and if they come in brights like red and teal, and with exaggerated proportions, even better. She's also got a feeling for stripes. Wide horizontal bands of black and ivory decorated a silk duchesse dress. The success of her Fall 2012 collection has made pattern a no-brainer. This season, she went with feather jacquards.

Her new sustainable optical collection made its debut, but "the real news," according to McCartney, was the eveningwear. "Evening is hard," she said. "It can make you look older, too young—it's very delicate." Her solution: quite strict, classic long-sleeved columns modernized with color-blocking, and one very striking bustier jumpsuit in those graphic stripes.