Stella McCartney was born in London on 13 September 1971, the second child of former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney and Linda Eastman, photographer and animal rights activist.
Despite their fame, the McCartneys wanted their children to lead as normal a life as possible so Stella and her siblings attended the local state school in East Sussex.
Stella McCartney became interested in designing clothes at age 13, when she made her first jacket. Three years later, she interned for Christian Lacroix, working on his first fashion design collection.
She studied her foundation at Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication, fashion design at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in the early 1990s. Her graduation collection in 1995 was modelled by friends and supermodels Naomi Campbell, Yasmin Le Bon and Kate Moss – for free – at the graduation runway show. The collection was shown to a song penned by her famous father, called “Stella May Day.” The show made front-page news, and the entire collection was sold to “Tokio”, a London boutique.
A lacto-ovo-vegetarian, McCartney does not use fur or leather in her designs and supports PETA. Some of McCartney’s designs have text that elaborates on her “no animal” policy; for example, one of her jackets for Adidas says, “suitable for sporty vegetarians” on the sleeve. Her father is also known for supporting PETA by protesting against designers who use animal fur and those who wear it. Stella does use wool, silk, and other animal-derived fabrics in her designs.
Chloé, Gucci, CARE
In March 1997 McCartney was appointed Creative Director of Paris fashion house Chloé, following in the footsteps of Karl Lagerfeld. Lagerfeld was less than impressed with the house’s choice, famously stating, “Chloé should have taken a big name. They did, but in music, not fashion. Let’s hope she’s as gifted as her father.” Despite initial skepticism, McCartney’s designs have enjoyed considerable commercial and critical success. Since then, the German-born designer has sent many letters to Stella, begging her to come to tea. She has yet to accept.
In 2001, McCartney resigned from Chloé in order to enter into an eponymous joint venture with Gucci.
Stella McCartney received the VH1/Vogue Designer of the Year award in 2000. Paul McCartney presented the award to his daughter. She thanked him in her acceptance speech and dedicated the award to her late mother.
In 2000 McCartney designed Madonna‘s wedding dress for her marriage to Guy Ritchie.
In January 2007, McCartney launched a skincare line called CARE. The 100% organic line includes seven products, from a cleansing milk made with lemon balm and apricot to green tea and linden blossom floral water.
In 2004, she designed clothes for Madonna‘s Re-Invention Tour, Annie Lennox’s summer tour, and Gwyneth Paltrow’s and Jude Law’s costumes for the film Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.
She also launched a joint-venture line with Adidas, establishing a long-term partnership with the corporation in September 2004. In January 2007, Stella McCartney announced that she would be adding a branch called Gym Yoga to her sports range for Adidas. Her Adidas contract was extended until 2010.
In 2005, she designed a range of clothing and accessories for H&M to boost public awareness of her own brand and to create more affordable options for her fans. The line was released in November of that year and sold out almost immediately on launch day, due to the similarity (in many cases, almost direct copies) between her expensive main line and the H&M line.
In 2009, Stella announced a children’s wear collaboration with retailer Gap.
In January 2010, McCartney announced she would be collaborating with Disney in order to create an Alice in Wonderland-inspired jewelry collection.
McCartney has always claimed that she would have been a famous fashion designer even if her father had not been Paul McCartney. In particular, it has been suggested that Vendome, owners of the Chloé house, appointed her as much for the wave of publicity the appointment would generate as for her talent. In recent times, however, some commentators have said that she is capable. Indeed, Vogue magazine wrote that “her first collection for the house Chloé, shown in Paris in October 1997, quickly dispelled any doubts about her talent.”
McCartney attended Central St Martins, but she did not receive a first class degree, unlike John Galliano and Hussein Chalayan. Despite this, she is known in the fashion industry as “Stella Steel” or “Unstoppable Stella”.
In November 2007, Stella designed a silver necklace featuring a single leg, an apparent attack on her father’s estranged wife Heather Mills, an amputee. Fashion insiders thought it was “edgy”, but also a bit “out of order”.
McCartney married British publisher Alasdhair Willis on 30 August 2003 in Scotland. McCartney’s wedding dress was an updated version of her mother’s wedding dress from her March 1969 marriage ceremony to Paul McCartney. She designed the dress with Tom Ford, her boss at Gucci. The service was attended by Gwyneth Paltrow, Liv Tyler, Pierce Brosnan, and Madonna.
Their first child, son Miller Alasdhair James Willis, was born on 25 February 2005. Their second child, daughter Bailey Linda Olwyn Willis, was born on 8 December 2006. Stella gave birth to her second son and third child Beckett Robert Lee Willis on 8 January 2008. Her three children were born in London. Stella McCartney is now expecting another child.