One of the industry’s leading female designers, Stella McCartney has turned her British take on modern femininity and tailoring into a global brand. As a lifelong vegetarian, McCartney does not use any leather or fur in her designs. After a 17-year partnership with Kering, which owned a 50-percent stake in the label, in 2018 both parties confirmed the split, allowing McCartney to acquire full control of the company.
McCartney entered the fashion industry aged 16, interning at Christian Lacroix. Following Lacroix, McCartney honed her cutting skills at Edward Sexton, a world-famous Savile Row tailor. Having attained her foundation degree from Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication, McCartney went on to study at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. A handful of her supermodel friends walked in her 1995 graduation collection presentation, including Kate Moss .
In 1997, McCartney was appointed creative director of Parisian fashion house Chloé, where her easy interpretation of the house’s codes, fluid tailoring and sense of proportion was met with both commercial and critical success.
In 2001, McCartney showed her first eponymous collection in Paris as a 50/50 joint venture partnership with Kering, the only designer in the Kering group to have had an equal share in their business. Today, the Stella McCartney brand operates 51 freestanding stores in locations including Manhattan, London, LA and Tokyo. Her collections are distributed in over 77 countries through 800+ wholesale accounts.
As one of the industry’s most vocal champions of environmental issues, McCartney is a strong example of the commercial potential of sustainable, ethically minded businesses. Sustainability shapes the company’s policies, its underlying business model and its brand message.
McCartney is also a sought after collaborator. Since first partnering with adidas in 2004, adidas by Stella McCartney has successfully grown to comprise several athletic disciplines including running, gym, yoga, tennis, swimming, winter sports and cycling. In September 2010, adidas appointed McCartney as Team GB’s creative director for the 2012 Olympics — the first time in the history of the games that a leading fashion designer has designed the apparel for a country’s team across all competitions. She returned as the Team GB creative director for Rio’s 2016 Olympics.
In 2018, she designed Meghan Markle’s mock-necked, fit-and-flare reception dress for her wedding to Prince Harry, for which she received wide press coverage.
McCartney launched her first fragrance Stella in 2003. The designer has since released a new fragrance, POP, aimed at younger girls and a new generation.
McCartney is married to publisher Alasdhair Willis; the couple has four children.