Stella McCartney proves eco fashion can turn a profit

Fashion designer Stella McCartney acknowledges the audience at the end of the women's 2018 Spring/Summer ready-to-wear collection fashion show in Paris on Oct 2, 2017. PHOTO: AFP
A model presents a creation by Stella McCartney during the women's 2018 Spring/Summer ready-to-wear collection fashion show in Paris, on Oct 2, 2017. PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (AFP) - Stella McCartney proved that eco-friendly fashion can turn a buck, with her label's profits shooting up as she unveiled her new collection Monday at Paris Fashion Week.

The British designer, daughter of the former Beatle Paul McCartney, whose upscale brand prides itself on its environmental and cruelty-free credentials, saw pretax profits rise by almost half to 9.5 million pounds ($17.2 million).

McCartney told reporters the brand was working towards a goal of zero emissions and had managed to "significantly reduce" its environmental impact despite rising sales.

The vegetarian designer, who does not use leather, fur, skins or feathers, sent out invitations to her Paris show, in the gilded glory of the city's Opera Garnier, on a roll of bio-plastic, compostable "Trashion Bags".

The label, whose US$1,200 duffel bags are lined with recycled plastic bottles, is also moving to using recycled cashmere and pesticide-free wool.

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McCartney said her spring/summer collection was a "joyful exploration of British style" with magenta and bubblegum-pink taffeta debutante dresses matched with oversize white jersey T-shirts.

Jumpsuits were followed by African wax print dresses and a line of pre-washed denim that brought back memories of 1980s school discos.

But there were plenty of McCartney's reliably classic pieces to please her many fans featuring her exaggerated sleeves and puffed shoulders.

One nifty innovation was a crop-top back vent on a few of her summer suits and dress combinations, all the better to catch a cooling summer breeze.

There were frills too - one of the trends of the season - big ones on the diagonal of one-shoulder dresses and clever little unexpected ones trailing from the collar.

Earlier this year McCartney declared that her new luxury synthetic leathers were as good as the real thing, and in Paris she sent out a pair of high-waisted, pecan-coloured Skin-Free-Skin trousers and a tight black top over a black organza dress appliqued with leopard patterns.

Despite the low grey Paris skies, the eighth and penultimate day of fashion week was by far its most colourful, with Leonard, Valentin Yudashkin and particularly the Dutch designer Liselore Frowijn rolling out their retina-reviving prints.

In a week that has been so dimmed by the dominance of black and white, the Japanese label Sacai began the day with zip, sending out its strip dresses of deconstructed tartan and vivid flower prints, after John Galliano, the Swiss brand Akris and the Finns of Marimekko had warmed up the palette late Sunday.

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