Stella McCartney pinstripes dominate Paris runway for winter

PARIS - British designer Stella McCartney opted for exaggerated volume at her fashion show in Paris on Monday, presenting contrasting pinstripes, voluminous coats and elongated skirts, as the brand hopes to expand its store base in Asia.

Interrupted by jolts of amethyst on a boucle coat and a body-covering silk dress, the mostly grey and black collection for Fall/Winter 2012/2013 imparted a structured, masculine feel in line with McCartney's tomboy sensibility.

Stella McCartney Autumn-Winter 2013-2014

Pinstripes on long, boxy coats paired with contrasting stripes on pants, a motif that cropped up in sweaters, skirts and dresses.

The Stella McCartney brand, owned by luxury group PPR, is one of the non-French brands that shows a ready-to-wear collection in Paris each season that largely influences what will be seen on fashionable backs the coming season.

Underscoring the stature of the young British designer, U2's Bono, wearing his signature sunglasses, attracted a throng of photographers, as did American actress Jessica Alba, who gushed over the opulent Opera Garnier setting.

The show was delayed for 30 minutes by the tardy arrival of Paul McCartney, the designer's father.

"Walk, walk, walk like a model," the former Beatle was overheard saying to his wife Nancy Shevell as they walked down the runway to take their seat.

After the show, he called his daughter "the best".

"I thought it was beautiful. Very strong, very clean," he told Reuters TV.

PPR, which is hoping to expand in the luxury sector, beat 2012 full-year operating profit estimates last month, and posted a 21 percent overall revenue rise.

The company does not break out sales data for its smaller brands such as Stella McCartney, which is expanding its retail operations in Asia, but said last month that it showed a "sharp increase in profitability" in 2012.

The brand's expanding store base already includes Japan, Thailand, South Korea and Singapore and the Asia market is considered a "key strategic priority," according to PPR.

This season, McCartney again showed some kicky little skirts and roomy trousers with a dropped waistline that recur in many of her collections.

But this time she experimented with knits and lace, interweaving the two to add "playful transparency," according to the liner notes. A sweater dress with an otherwise conservative turtleneck ended in a lace skirt with movement at the hem.

Some of the most successful pieces were for evening. McCartney transformed an otherwise prim long silk dress in aubergine to diva stature by adding a ruched band just above the knees, thereby focusing the roomy form on the body.

"It's that British tradition and classic tailoring - timeless pieces but redirected, injecting femininity, a curve, an insert as movement," McCartney explained backstage.

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