By The Nation
The Winter 2020 collection takes inspiration from the art deco stylings of Russian-born French designer and illustrator Erté (1892–1990), from whose archives Stella was permitted to procure never-before-used fashion prints.
The resulting designs feature a compelling tension created by the feminisation of masculine clothing, sculptural silhouettes and minimal embellishments balanced with natural textures. True to Stella, the palette includes terrestrial tones of mineral, clay, sand, charcoal, walnut and navy alongside punches of lilac and ginger.
The season draws inspiration from both Erté and a rebellious energy, with prints by the artist including Tumbling Locks, Starburst and Jellyfish. The opulence is disrupted with touches of lumberjack, layered check and leather bindings. In this defiant spirit, Winter 2020 has more animal-free vegan leather than previous ready-to-wear collections, expanding the cruelty- and PVC-free material beyond accessories – including decorative perforated vegan leather and shaggy pile animal-free shearling.
Bowed shirts and belted trousers are shown in soft and sensual patterns, while dresses with bound extensions are draped and fluidly wrapped around the body. Unstructured silhouettes are embellished with luxurious metallic beaded designs.
Stella’s tailoring is seen via structural outerwear that transitions through the collection from minimalist, neutral tones in micro mouliné flannel and flecked melton to a more utilitarian lumberjack check. The collection’s knitwear teases a variety of textures, juxtaposing clean-cut shapes with decadent comfort – from felted checks to a new long-pile animal-free sheepskin.
A key bag this season is a mid-century-inspired shoulder bag featuring a softer aesthetic contrasted against structured vegan leather, with a braided strap. Another focal bag is immediately recognisable for its unique geometric shapes, the iconic Falabella chains in a chunky style and animal-free crocodile leather. There is also an oversized, slouchy Hobo bag in sumptuously soft vegan leather bonded with animal-free suede.
Flat goth boots march into the season with an oversized metallic front zipper and a sharp, pointed toe. The Emilie Chelsea boot also makes its show debut, with the high vegan leather upper sitting atop a layer of Macadamia wood and a split chunky sole. The Cage 2 flat pump is anything but flat stylistically, with cut-outs at the pointed toe as well as along the sides.
Gold and silver animal jewellery are an eccentric addition including broaches, earrings and necklaces inspired by ancient hieroglyphs and mid-century art.
The Winter 2020 collection from Stella McCartney is at The EmQuartier, M Floor (call (02) 021 2111.