Stella McCartney RTW Fall 2021

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It’s time to rise and shine, says Stella McCartney, whose collection was an eruption of saturated color, glitter and exaggerated proportions, all meant for life in the outside world.  

Her usual earth tones, gentle pinks and biscuit shades made way for a loud and proud palette of sparkling turquoise for tall stocking boots; caterpillar green for a trapeze dress and dizzying optical checks and swirls on roomy knits and long dresses. 

Heads will turn as McCartney’s bold beauties stride into fall, and that’s just what the designer was going for. “This season I wanted the Stella girl to shine,” said McCartney before the release of a runway film directed and shot by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott in the Tanks at Tate Modern in London.

“This is a season to be explosive, and not to apologize for who you are, what you love and what you wear. There was an energy I wanted to capture. It was a collection born out of wanting to feel alive, in the moment and brave,” said the designer, adding that she feels like dancing for hours in a basement club wearing those glittery boots and bright dresses.

The Tanks, with their gray concrete and brutalist feel, were a fitting backdrop to this vitamin boost of a collection, which drew on glam rock, cyber space and psychedelia in color, proportion, shape and texture.

Trousers flared from the knee, flamenco style, and those mile-high glittery boots doubled as stockings, albeit with built-in heels made partly from bio-based materials. Ruched, high-neck midi dresses hugged models like bright candy wrappers, while a glistening, sequin-dipped jumpsuit looked as if it had emerged from some exotic sea.

While McCartney may be dreaming about life after lockdown — London will begin opening in earnest on April 12 — she was also reflecting on the impact that social distancing and stay-at-home orders have had on how people dress.

Those eye-searing colors, the exaggerated proportions, the nubby, “popcorn” surface on knit flared trousers weren’t inspired only by the basement club. She described the collection as “a little bit cyber,” and asked: “Where do we live nowadays? On a screen? Or on the street?”

While people continue to wonder what sort of dress code will emerge from lockdown — leggings forever? The return of tailored clothing? Sneakers or revenge heels? — McCartney is thinking it might just be the gaming screen, or the hyper-filtered Instagram image, that will have the biggest impact of all.

Stella McCartney RTW Fall 2021

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