It is so interesting that season after season Stella McCartney chooses to present her ready-to-wear collection at the famed Palais Garnier Opéra house in the heart of Paris. Its gilded halls and conspicuous beauty are the diametric opposite of the aesthetic of her signature brand.
McCartney is a working mother of four and she knows exactly what women like her want and, just as importantly, need. Each season she gives her sisters in arms the sartorial weapons they will need to fight the good fight.
This time that meant a collection filled with comfortable and flattering garments that still generated some sexy heat. Oversized sweaters that slid off one shoulder in a "Flashdance" fashion, their sleeves finishing well below the fingertips, looked both comfy and alluring. Handkerchief hemlines on front tie coats and tops — their short sleeves cut out under the arms for added ease — gave the garments movement and complimented the female form. As did the relaxed suiting that featured short waiter-like aprons at the waist.
There was a playful sexiness to the corset-topped outfits worn with high paperbag-waisted pants. But these too took their sensuality in effortless stride. More va-va-voom were the impressive "Fur Free Fur" coats, their shaggy hair embroidered into geometric or floral-patterned sections. Ditto the open work knit dresses crafted into flowers.
It was with the after-dark attire that McCartney got a bit more daring. Splicing together panels of silk lamé jacquards, shimmering brocades and lurex on a felted wool base. While her sculptural black tie options that had tone-on-tone sequins glimmering from the underside of a wave of fabric pushing out from the bodice had just the right amount of edge.
International Women's Day might have been yesterday, but McCartney's lineup made celebrating women an everyday affair.