Is Stella McCartney Paul's daughter
Stella McCartney, pioneer of sustainable luxury fashion
The daughter of ex-Beatle Paul McCartney consistently focuses on sustainable luxury with her fashion label. At first she was considered a spoiled, fundamentalist brat. But now a world market leader is joining her.
"No questions about the family, please," it was always said before interviews with Stella McCartney. Ex-Beatle Paul McCartney's daughter hates being asked about her famous father. They get along very well, the musician always sits in the front row at their fashion shows. But the fashion designer wants to stand for herself, not be seen as the eternal “daughter of”, as is often the case at the beginning of her career. When she became the designer of the Paris-based company Chloé in the mid-1990s, Karl Lagerfeld was still blaspheming that one should have taken a well-known name for the job - but out of fashion, not music. Such reservations remain.
Now fewer and fewer interviewers come up with the idea of asking Stella McCartney about her father. Because it has long been making headlines with its own topics and success stories. In mid-July it was announced that the world's largest luxury company, LVMH, which owns brands such as Louis Vuitton, Dior and Céline, is taking over shares in their label. The 47-year-old is to remain the majority owner and become a personal advisor to LVMH boss Bernard Arnault. More details will be announced in September, but the strategy seems clear: The French urgently need reinforcement on the issue of sustainability, which is preoccupying the fashion world like never before. And no other luxury brand embodies sustainability as much as Stella McCartney. The vegetarian uses neither fur, leather nor PVC in her collections, and she advocates the use of organic and recycled materials.
Something else makes the new cooperation interesting and piquant: Until recently, McCartney's company was half owned by the luxury group Kering, LVMH's biggest rival. Kering has brands such as Gucci, Saint Laurent and Bottega Veneta in its portfolio. It was only in March 2018 that McCartney surprisingly announced that it would buy the 50 percent stake in Kerings. The fact that fashion brands switch from one company to the next is not only extremely unusual, but borders on treason in the industry. It proves how popular the British woman and her name are right now.
McCartney has always been a pioneer and outsider in the luxury industry with her principles. When she founded her own label in 2001, after training at the renowned Central Saint Martins College in London and four years at Chloé, and announced that she did not want to deal with "no dead animals", the response was unanimous: That was of course an honorable, but hopeless idea After all, the greatest sales are still made with bags and shoes made of leather.
She called her industry "old-fashioned"
McCartney was not deterred. Her grandfather always advised her: “You have to have stamina!” She once told us in an interview. So the resolute woman continued to declare at every opportunity that she considered it wrong to «let 50 million animals per year die for fur and leather production». And that she finds the oh-so-modern luxury industry to be extremely “old-fashioned”. She was not only considered a rich, privileged daughter, but also a fundamentalist brat who only allowed vegan and vegetarian food to be served at press events.
But the zeitgeist has proven McCartney right. Since word got around among consumers that the textile industry, along with the oil industry, is one of the biggest polluters, sustainability has become a mega-topic. Brands like Boss are now also making sneakers from pineapple fiber instead of leather, or they promise to drastically reduce their water consumption. Even the Spanish low-cost brand Zara recently announced that from 2025 it will largely only use recycled, ecological or sustainable materials and run its stores with renewable energy.
The Kering Group also boasts that it has the issue of “sustainability” at the top of its agenda. Even industry experts do not understand that Kering then let Stella McCartney, of all things, pull the most prominent sustainable label. Now LVMH will benefit from the collaboration with the British company: thanks to suggestions on how the other brands in the luxury group can also produce more sustainably, and of course through the enormous image gain of now having the flagship pioneer on board.
To a certain extent, McCartney was born with her principles. Her mother, the American photographer Linda McCartney, who died of cancer in 1998, was already a vegetarian in the 1970s, wrote cookbooks and was committed to animal welfare. The four children grew up at times on a secluded farm in East Sussex. Stella McCartney and her husband, the designer Alasdhair Willis, are also raising their four children to be vegetarian and spending as much time as possible in the country outside their main residence in London.
She doesn't want to make it easy for herself
The “fashion activist”, as she is often called, has always emphasized in interviews that the search for sustainable alternatives is difficult. It takes a lot of time to find naturally dyed yarn of high quality or to treat canvas with oil and resin until it looks like leather. Above all, it is significantly more expensive. According to estimates, her brand only sells around 330 million francs a year, compared to around one billion for its competitor Balenciaga. McCartney doesn’t have to suffer, her fortune is estimated at £ 75 million. But surely their brand could have grown faster. Sometimes you stand in your own way with your stamina. "I'm not here to make life as easy as possible for me," McCartney recently told the British Guardian.
The new partner LVMH will now make one or the other project easier for her. In addition to the women's line, the brand already has children's and men's collections. There has been speculation about a sustainable cosmetics line for a long time. In addition, Stella McCartney has been designing a sports collection for Adidas since 2004 and, in collaboration with the organization Parley for the Oceans, has clothing and trainers made from recycled marine plastic. Other such image-promoting campaigns could follow. Perhaps one day Paul McCartney will no longer be the ex-Beatle for younger people, but the "father of".
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