Stella McCartney Is For GapKids—But If Gap Adults Wear It Too, Well, OK
Stella McCartney’s much-adored line for GapKids debuted last season and quickly became the talk of the playground—not to mention the envy of petite women, many of whom snapped up the largest-sized pieces for themselves. The second collection of children’s clothing hits stores nationwide next week, and Style.com caught a few minutes with the mom of three to talk tees, tunes, and one very high-profile fan named Carla Bruni-Sarkozy.
PLUS, keep reading below for an exclusive clip of McCartney styling the kids for their ad campaign shoot.
The GapKids collection is your first line for kids. Is the design process different than for adults?
It differs a lot, actually. Number one, it’s kids and not adults, and there’s a million issues that come along with that—psychologically, physically. There’s a lot of restrictions, a lot of laws and regulations where it comes to children—you can’t have a string of a certain length, or a button that fits on. Also, I wanted to avoid very much trying to make your child look like you too much. I think it’s nice to have a little touch of that, where you have a big thing and shrink it down. We did that with the Stella jean, for example. But that only works on specific garments. For me, when you’re doing the kids’ wear, you need to treat it like you’re designing for children. A lot of it comes down to the fabrics. You’re dealing with sensitive skin, for one.
Well, you’ve got three young customers at home. How did they influence your process?
I think that it would be a lie to say that having three young children doesn’t come into the design process. I don’t see how you can design children’s wear without having children, actually. There are so many elements once you have kids that become critical as far as what you need out of clothes for them: You need them to have a shelf life that’s much longer, they need to be very wearable and very durable, you want to have stuff that’s comfortable but also has a personality. And because the line goes up to 13-year-olds, it’s very important that children like it. It’s not a case of you telling children what they’re wearing, it’s them choosing the clothing as well.
And what did your kids think of it?
I’m very lucky. My kids are very proud of it. I took my daughter to nursery [the other day], and she had a little pair of shorts on from the last collection. One of her girlfriends came in, in the same pair of shorts, and she went, Oh, my mummy made these! It was very cute. She knows what she wants, that one, for sure.
Do you have favorite pieces in the collection?
For me, it’s very important that there be simple and refreshing pieces as well as the more sort of statement pieces; I think without one you can’t have the other. Obviously the miller jacket from last season was very known and got a lot of attention, but equally in this collection, there’s a little denim shirt and a gorgeous pair of espadrilles…There’s a lot of really sweet pieces. [But] for me, it’s so important to have the perfect little T-shirt that gets better with age, too. I’m the kind of person who likes things to get washed and washed and washed for kids and actually improve.
Speaking of that miller jacket, we couldn’t help but notice it had a slightly older fan last season—Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, who wore it during a TV appearance. How do you feel about adults borrowing some of the kids’ items?
I think it’s great. It’s a compliment. It’s something that we thought might happen. I certainly got a couple of the large sizes myself. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. It’s great to have that kind of interest; it’s just a compliment that everybody wants it.
Frankly, I was impressed she could fit into it.
I have to say, I was too.
So how would you say the kids’ collection relates to the main Stella collection?
It’s an extension of the main line—the daughter of the brand, or the son of the brand. One place it’s really connected to the main collection is use of materials and colors. My color palette is a very Stella color palette. I never really understood why you had to spend more money to get a really beautiful pink, for instance. It seemed like the more expensive brands did the more beautiful colors, and I never understood why that was.
Did you think of expanding the sizes this time around, knowing that there’d be interested moms, too?
No. Gap actually goes a little bit higher in their kids sizes [than we do in the Stella McCartney for GapKids line], but I didn’t want it to get confused with a sort of diffusion range, or Stella McCartney for Gap—it’s very much Stella McCartney for GapKids.
You’ve taken to ending your shows lately with a Beatles song. Is there one you’d choose for this collection?
I’d probably do something like “Sgt. Pepper,” nice and colorful. A big brass band, something to get them going.