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The Fashion Memo

Stella McCartney On Her Beatles Collection, Mushroom Leather And Greta Thunberg

Featuring graphic prints and off-duty silhouettes, the Stella McCartney x The Beatles Get Back capsule celebrates music, community and positive change

Fresh from the COP26 climate summit, British designer STELLA McCARTNEY is determined to continue pushing the boundaries of sustainable fashion, all while bringing chic, covetable and, crucially, eco-conscious clothing to our closets – the latest of which is very close to her heart

Fashion
My favorite piece is the regenerated nylon bomber jacket that was inspired by a piece I found in my dad’s wardrobe and has this incredible illustration of The Beatles on the back; I just love this piece

Talk us through some of the key pieces…

“I watched the film, and to me it felt like if you’re doing a Beatles collaboration, the tailoring is something they were known for – how they were styling it, how they were wearing it. Their personalities all came out so clearly in how they each curated their looks. But I already do tailoring in my ready-to-wear line, so I wanted to look beyond literal references and instead take the spirit of everything about The Beatles and what that moment was and celebrate it. When I was growing up, I noticed my mum and dad used to share their wardrobe, especially in the Wings era, and I remember thinking how cool that always felt and how it made so much sense, so it was very important to me that this collection was genderless to reflect that. When you look at [it], it has two sides: there’s the escapism side, which is super-vibrant, creative and ‘thinking outside the box’ – very much of that period, which was getting into psychedelia and pop culture – and The Fool did such a wonderful job capturing that. Then we contrasted that vibrancy with the monochrome looks, which revolve around all the amazing typography we were looking at.

“My favorite piece is the regenerated nylon bomber jacket that was inspired by a piece I found in my dad’s wardrobe and has this incredible illustration of The Beatles on the back; I just love this piece. I’m also obsessed with the jeans, which use the same illustration split across both legs. I think the patchwork cardigan coat is very cool, so are The Fool collective’s trippy and colorful graphics we used on T-shirts, jumpers and hoodies. The collection just has so much hope and love and life in it – I can’t wait to share it with the world.”

The cropped embroidered intarsia cotton cardigan depicts the psychedelic coastal dreamscape that The Beatles originally wanted to use on their Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover

The documentary features unseen archival footage of The Beatles. What’s it like watching these iconic tapes of your father?

“To me, Get Back is about so much more than just a song or a concert – it’s the timeless story of lifelong friends coming together to create something incredible, with laughter and utter fearlessness, while standing at the forefront of change. Peter [Jackson] worked with over 60 hours of footage, all shot in 1969, as the band plan their first live show in more than two years. Peter did the most wonderful job to bring across the true warmth, camaraderie and creative genius that defines the band’s legacy, and it gives such an intimate insight into that special period. My favorite part of the documentary is where we get to see the band’s last live performance together – a rooftop concert on Savile Row – which is the first time that show has ever been seen publicly in its entirety. It’s such a major moment and the culmination of so many amazing years together. Peter did a two-hour edit for close friends and family, so we all watched it together. It was a moment I’ll never forget – being in a room with those people, many of whom have been in my life since the beginning – and it all just felt very emotional to be able to watch it together.”

To me, Greta Thunberg is a fucking rock star. I think it’s incredible how she is the face of a whole generation who are standing up and telling us that our house is on fire, and that governments need to wake up and act

Who are the current activists and changemakers that you see as having a positive impact on the next generation?

“I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on my time [at COP26]. It really felt like the voice of the youth was missing and that only people of privilege got a seat at the table and had the chance to be listened to. I think it was a missed opportunity that the youth were so underrepresented in the conversation, because they are the ones who will suffer the consequences of climate change and are so much more aware of it being a problem, but also of the potential solutions. When they speak, we owe it to them to listen. To me, Greta Thunberg is a fucking rock star. I think it’s incredible how she is the face of a whole generation who are standing up and telling us that our house is on fire, and that governments need to wake up and act. It’s incredibly powerful. During COP26, I was lucky enough to meet and be part of a panel talk with Ugandan climate activist Vanessa Nakate, who, at the young age of 25 has already brought so much attention to the urgent issues of the Congo Basin rainforest and Uganda’s worrying climate issues. It was an inspiring reminder of the power of the next generation, who are the voices of tomorrow.”

McCartney featured bags made from lab-grown mushroom leather in her SS22 collection

Your SS22 show was a historic moment, as it’s the first time a bag made entirely from lab-grown mushroom leather has appeared on a fashion week runway – does this feel like a turning point for the brand and sustainability in the fashion industry?

“We have been working with Bolt Threads since 2016, creating different Mylo™️ prototypes: first our iconic Falabella, then moving on to the world’s first garments, and most recently the Frayme Mylo™️, which we featured on our latest catwalk and plan to commercialize in 2022. This is a huge milestone, not only for us as a brand, but for the industry as a whole, showing we have finally gotten to a stage where commercializing these innovations is on the horizon. If there is enough support, I truly believe this is only the beginning and in a few years’ time this type of material will be the norm.”