Cover Stella McCartney

The British designer reveals more about her sustainability goals, her love of trousers, the need to go dancing post pandemic—and how she rescued chickens recently

Eco-luxury powerhouse Stella McCartney showed her fall-winter 2021 collection via digital runway and audiences were immediately struck by the plethora of colour and sparkle, unusual for the British designer who has been more known for her relaxed pieces in earthy tones. "I think after this pandemic, everyone will be rearing to get out," McCartney says in a video conference after the release. "There’s an element of rebellion that will happen in the way people dress, even if it’s 'wrong'." 

(Related: Stella McCartney is the First Luxury Brand to Introduce Vegan Mushroom Leather Garments)

One commentator noted that there were also more trousers, and flared disco trousers at that. "I feel like in the winter I wear more pants because you feel less exposed and safer, and also more agile and effortless, which is so important right now," says McCartney. "I also encourage men and women to wear everything of mine so in my heart I hope men can wear these pants—and dresses—too."

It was an uplifting collection to say the least. The glitzy stretch boots in high-octane hues, sexy cutout frocks and sequinned harlequin sweaters all but egging you to get up and dance. The collection is also 80 per cent sustainable, the highest percentage that McCartney says she has been able to achieve so far. "We always keep our leftover fabrics and zips and buttons and find ways to reuse them, unlike brands who, as you know would burn to throw them away." she says. "But with this collection we've actually almost run out of the leftovers which is so great to see."

(Related: 7 Eco-Friendly And Sustainable Fashion Brands Redefining Luxury)

While brands have been scrambling to jump on the sustainability bandwagon this past year, McCartney, who was a pioneer in this space when she launched her label 20 years ago, says she has only accelerated her pace towards minimising waste in fashion during the pandemic, advising Bernard Arnault, chairman of the LVMH Group, on further steps the industry can take. "I love change; I'm one of those people who don't like things to stay the same, and I want to push things forward all the time, so I'd love for my next 20 years to be like the first 20 years in a way. I have to be optimistic."

But the thing that's currently on McCartney's mind? "I rescued some chickens from a battery farm recently and I have them in my countryside house, but they're not allowed to go outside because the fear of the Avian flu led all poultry in Britain to be on lockdown!" she says, with a chuckle at the end. "Was that a little political? Sorry!!"

(Related: Gabriela Hearst Debuts Her First Collection For Chloé With the Spotlight on Sustainability)