October 11, 2003 Paris
Gone were the tricky corsetry, the bland biscuit shades, the reworked vintage pieces of previous collections. Instead, McCartney sent out strong coloraqua, spearmint, jade, lemon, pinkand banished references to iconic designers' past hits, relying on her own keen sense of what makes clothes graceful and cool. For the former, there were the dresses suspended by superfine straps, and filmy skirts of petal-like chiffon layers, all artfully blown by wind machines as the models struck their poses. Hip was defined by a crème de menthe silk blouson, or the sharp, sexy pants that came with milky-colored chiffon tops hung from latex straps. McCartney licked the ballet trend currently pirouetting its way through Paris, with second-skin jerseys and knitted rib warmers over floaty minis. The accessories looked great too: flesh-toned, transparent-strapped shoes and metal-trimmed bags embellished with enamel stones. Those, and the delicate eveningwearembroidered and smocked with gold threadwill have her fans in raptures next spring.
Back to the confidence issue. Could it be her recent marriage to Alasdhair Willis that has finally anchored McCartney's self-reliance? Whatever the reason, the Stella McCartney woman is no longer trying too hard. She's all grown up, and looks much better for it.