Only Stella McCartney can turn a Pre-Fall presentation into a genuine happening. Upstairs at New York's Harold Pratt House last night, models were zinging around in miniature electric cars, playing hopscotch, and dancing to a live band. Downstairs, the designer mingled with the likes of Susan Sarandon, Jerry Seinfeld, Liv Tyler, and Patti Smith. Cool just seems to come naturally to her. Even when she's working hard, she makes it look easy, and that attitude carries over to her clothes. It's one of the major keys to their success.

This season, McCartney conjured memories of her oldest sister, who was plucked from London's edgy street scene and relocated to an organic farm in the middle of the countryside not long after McCartney was born. "She was a major punk, hanging out with Steve Strange, Billy Idol. The collection is a mix of the harshness of the urban environment, softened through different mediums." Classic houndstooths were manipulated until they looked almost like the petals of a flower. Fringed woolen jackets wrapped around the body like blankets (one of Pre-Fall's key trends). Streamlined mesh cocktail dresses were adorned with arabesques of fringe. And speaking of cool, the designer turned graphic drawings of female faces and bodies by her friend, the British artist Gary Hume, into intarsias on sweaters and knit dresses. (It would seem that McCartney has always been hooked into the scene.)

Everything was immanently wearable, a point she drove home by pairing looks for day and night with menswear loafers.