March 08, 2009 Paris
Jackets in black and white or red and black micro-checks were roomy and long enough to function as a dress, which they were asked to do when paired on the runway with vegan legging boots. (These needle-heeled numbers were definitely up there with the season's other extreme footwear.) Elegant cocoon coats were made edgier with super-skinny belts, and a couple of them got the trompe l'oeil treatment—coming, they looked like a jacket and skirt. Houndstooth, meanwhile, appeared on clingy knit sweater dresses.
The prettiest slipdresses we've seen from New York to Paris put into practice something else McCartney mentioned backstage: her interest in taking things apart and putting them together again. Silk was spliced with tulle to create provocative peekaboo panels raying out from the midriff and down the legs. The same trick was used on illusion sleeves so it looked like black lace was floating on the models' arms. For an evening alternative, there was also a black bugle-beaded suit.
McCartney's real-world approach means she can attract gals as different as Beth Ditto, Thandie Newton, Salma Hayek, and Nan Goldin, all of whom were there in her front row. Pushing boundaries wasn't the point of this collection, but she did provide a complete wardrobe for women who connect with her brand of easy, unfussy sex appeal.