Fashion

The A to Z of Stella McCartney Brings Together Art, Fashion, and Community

Twenty-six artists help the brand spell out its core values from A to Z for Spring/Summer 2021.
Reading time 11 minutes

When it comes to disruptive brands, Stella McCartney and her namesake label consistently makes space for itself. In 2019, the British designer presented her Spring/Summer 2020 show with 75 percent of the collection made up of eco-sustainable materials, For Fall/Winter 2020, the label staged a protest against the use of animal skin and fur at Paris Fashion Week, having people walk the runway in animal costumes. The brand also debuted its first genderless collection last year.

McCartney has always shown herself to be a designer who embraces diverse movements and activism. The current chaotic global moment has sounded like an awakening for many. With more time at home, new reflections arise: how can we make the world more attentive and more aware? On a sleepless night, McCartney focused her thoughts on what really matters and put all the main ideas in an alphabetical order from A to Z.

For the Stella McCartney Spring/Summer 2021 launch, which was presented in October 2020, the designer invited 26 artists to illustrate each letter. The result is a manifesto of the Stella McCartney values and the visions of these global artists, which include next generation talents to established names such as Olafur Eliasson, Jeff Koons, L'OFFICIEL contributor Sam Taylor-Johnson, and others.

The A to Z of Stella McCartney

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Art: Rashid Johnson.

A for Accountable

 

The Adrienne jacket is a limited edition piece made from fur-free fur recycled from previous collections.

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Art: Peter Blake.

B for Britons

The timeless British suit is a tribute to McCartney's training on Savile Row, coached by Edward Sexton. Her parents shared a wardrobe and loved tailoring, inspiring the characteristic dichotomy of femininity and masculinity, which can be seen in the Aya jacket and Louise pants.

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Art: Chantal Joffe.

C for Conscious

The Leanna trench coat is consciously composed of plant materials, with the inside lined with sustainable linen and the outside printed in cotton. Linen is an environmentally friendly fiber that uses far less water and pesticides compared to conventional cotton.

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Art: Erté.

D for Desire

 

Desirability is essential for sustainability. The challenge here is to create clothes that women dream of wearing and still care for as if this were a real investment; the opposite of disposable. The Alessandra dress is made of recycled nylon lace Q-NOVA® and lace finishes reused from the Spring/Summer 2018 collection.

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Art: Cindy Sherman.

E for Effortless 

McCartney's excellence in translating the feminine style with bold statements comes naturally. It can be seen by the mesh jumpsuit and pants, made with 100 percent traceable viscose from certified forests and managed in a sustainable way in Sweden.

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Art: Lorenzo Vitturi.

F for Falabella

 

Premiered in 2009, the vegan Falabella bag has become an icon for the brand. A unique and limited edition was created by the American textile artist, Sheila Hicks. For version 2.0 it is even more sustainable; the lining is made of recycled polyester and the diamond-cut body chains are made of low-impact aluminum.

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Art: George Condo.

G for Gratitude

 

 

Visually expressing the gratitude that McCartney feels for the communities of creative forces that surround her, the stylist creates the golden Laura dress using reused materials from the Spring/Summer 2018 collection, creating a rare and exclusive piece that minimizes waste and use of virgin materials.

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Art: Alex Israel.

H for Humor

Humor is central to McCartney's conscious mission; although sustainability is serious, we don't always need to be. Do you know the protest on the catwalk we talked about? In it, the models wore cow costumes, and these same cows are now holding the iconic vegan bags. Using alternatives to animal leather avoids deforestation, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions and the spread of chemicals.

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Art: Urs Fischer.

I for Intimacy

The Stella woman is naturally sensual and has an intimate connection with themselves and Mother Earth. Stellawear is a good piece for both the body and the planet. Used in a hybrid way, such as swimwear and underwear, this versatile line shapes the body using ECONYL® regenerated nylon thread, made from post-consumer waste and ocean plastics, and ROICA™ eco-smart fibers. It is also tested against ultraviolet rays and is safe for chlorine and salt water.

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Art: Hou Zichao.

J for Joy 

 

Inspired by the natural free spirit of McCartney's mother, Linda, is a super feminine mini dress, light and easy to wear. It is adorned with whimsical embroidery in a soft blue. It also carries a subtle reminder that fashion is cheerful; fashion is escapism; fashion is positive.

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Art: Jeff Koons.

K for Kindness

 

With the evolution of the mentality and spirit that we are all one, we strive to be kind to the planet and all the creatures that inhabit it. The hippie jumpsuit is inspired by the disposition of Stella's mother, Linda, and happily carries rich embroidery and a handmade knitting feel.

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Art: Linda McCartney.

L for Linda

Stella has always been inspired by the creative, feminist, and animal activism of her mother. Their relationship is translated into the Elle all-in-one model, with wide sleeves and legs and a dramatic silhouette. The floral print Linda piece is made with 100 percent traceable and ecological viscose; when one tree is cut, another is planted.

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Art: Mert and Marcus.

M for Mindful

 

We know that McCartney's A to Z originated during the quarantine, a moment of pause that allowed us to reflect and return to the world more attentively. The Mara dress expresses exactly that mood, made of recycled and ecological viscose from the Spring/Summer 2020 collection, cut into strips and placed in a transparent tulle to create movement.

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Art: Lila Azeu.

N for Nature

Nature is a recurring inspiration for McCartney. Vintage animal rights activist prints in Nature's patchwork dress were recycled from discarded T-shirts. They are made from 100 percent organic cotton and grown without the use of toxic pesticides and synthetic fertilizers.

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Art: Olafur Eliasson.

O for Organic

 

The Faces in Places shirt incorporates a natural and organic mood. It is as if it was a tribute to Mother Earth. These pieces are made of organic cotton–grown without chemical inputs, improving soil health and promoting social standards for farmers.

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Art by students at the Kourtrajmé art school in JR.

P for Progress

A progressive perspective is characteristic of McCartney. Questioning positive social changes and using fashion to evolve is her gift. The Phoenix dress translates exactly that attitude, made of recycled nylon lace Q-NOVA® and lace ornaments reused from the Spring/Summer 2018 collection.

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Art: Nick Cave and Bob Faust.

Q for Questions

We always question the fashion industry, however, during the quarantine, we realize that it is time to question our own approach. The Elisabeth jacket and Jayda pants encourage us with the confident femininity needed for change.

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Art: Taryn Simon.

R for Reuse

Create a new purpose for limited edition parts using old stock to define a new turning pattern. The Patchwork Shades jacket and pants are items for a true collector. Made from recycled organic cotton jeans from the Spring/Summer 2017 and Spring/Summer 2019 collections, the reused fabrics were cut and patched to make unique pieces, minimizing waste and use of raw materials.

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Hajime Sorayama art

S for Sustainability

In 2018, Stella collaborated with Adidas on the first vegan Stan Smiths model–another big step towards a sustainable, leather-free fashion industry. Livestock is the major driver of climate change and deforestation responsible for approximately 18 percent of global emissions of greenhouse gases. By creating an animal-free alternative that is indistinguishable from cowhide, the label protects humans and planet Earth.

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Art: William Eggleston.

T is for Timeless

Designing clothes that can be enjoyed in any season is true sustainability. The Arielle polka dot dress is from the Fall/Winter 2011 collection, updated with contemporary materials–100 percent traceable, environmentally friendly viscose and acetate, both cellulose-based fibers from trees. The label only enters into partnerships with suppliers that never source from endangered forests, preserving them for future generations.

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Art: Emilie Pria and Paulo Accioly.

U for Utility  

McCartney carries functionality as a signature of her pieces. The Alessia jumpsuit expresses this utilitarian perspective and highlights it with innovative materials made from a soft Pathos fabric, directly from Italy, mixing organic cotton, nylon, and linen.

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Art: Will Sweeney.

V for Vegan  

Never having used leather, feathers, or fur since the first day of existence, all Stella McCartney shoes and bags are vegan, which means that they do not use animal products and are cruelty-free. For the new season, the over-the-knee Emilie boot is composed of a recyclable thermoplastic. The brand also guarantees to reveal a next generation of alternatives to sustainable leather, based on plants and made without animals. 

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Art: Sam Taylor-Johnson.

W for Womanhood

Stella McCartney is a brand founded and led by women, with feminine empowerment focused on values and aesthetic vision. The Ofélia dress personifies the Stella woman, naturally fearless and inspired by nature.

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Art: Ed Ruscha.

X for XO  

Feminine and irreverent, this earcuff is like a kiss, another of McCartney's signatures. Spring/Summer 2021 jewelry is a series of dichotomies; classic styles and contemporary designs that are naturally subtle and striking.

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Art: Jermaine Francis.

Y for Youth

Activism, gender neutrality, connectivity–the brand embraces and is inspired by the vocal and fluid approach of the next generation, going beyond the labels for unity. The sets are all unisex and made from 100 percent certified organic cotton, embodying a uniform for the leaders of tomorrow.

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Art: Joana Vasconcelos.

Z for Zero Waste

The brand proposes to live up to the concept of zero waste, revisiting old successes to create something new and unexpected. Each Gabriela dress carries a unique and super rare peculiarity. Created from the printed fabrics of 9 past ready-to-wear collections from 2015 to present.

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