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Still no official word on whether Stella McCartney is launching a menswear label. For AW16, however, her shapes were womanly and wide: fluid flared pyjama trousers, big quilted urban puffas (quite the trend in Paris), cropped bomber jackets (ditto), a voluminous jacquard dress with a fine swan motif. “It’s in my language to always have some kind of animal print in my collection, to give some respect to the fellow creatures,” the designer said of the regal bird that decorated sweaters and dresses. “The swan felt very British, very bold.”

McCartney’s AW16 collection was strong, synthesising many of the characteristics she has always “played with” at the house — soft tailoring, easy lines, a focus on function, sports and wearability. The parkas were eminently sensible, her pointed white flats designed for a woman on the move.

In recent seasons, the prevailing fashion has been for maximal styling and excess. The arrival of Balenciaga, and a simpler, spare design will change all that again. This AW16 was a timely reminder that McCartney’s sporty pared-down aesthetic has always placed function over the fanciful, and this quiet celebration of breezy femininity chimed with the times.

Known as the go-to designer for the working woman — “or at least I hope I am”, she said backstage — lately she’s been more interested in the “day-to-night” wardrobe. Hence, this working wardrobe was punched up with dressier details: a gorgeous shocking pink dress which fell to the floor; a long skirt with kilt-like pleats was coloured in equal parts khaki and gold; a slouchy slate grey velvet suit had sheer tulle shoulders; even the everyday parkas were neatly nipped at the waist or finished in luxe-ier fabrics like velvet or silk. All were worn with a single drop earring and slicked Marcel Wave hair.

“I don’t have time to go home and get dressed up again. I just want to add an earring and an eye and go out.” I understand the single earring, but the eye? One assumes McCartney was talking in the fashion speak singular? “No! I mean one eye open and the other closed,” she laughed.

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