By Alison Glander
When given the opportunity to meet a famous fashion icon, you take it.
This is what I learned not too long ago when my editor at D magazine couldn’t make an event to meet Stella McCartney.
Stella McCartney, daughter of former Beatles member Paul McCartney, has made a name for herself in the fashion world. Her all-vegan designs and Adidas collaboration are two of her claims to fame.
Those of us at D didn’t really understand why McCartney had suddenly decided to host a carnival at her Highland Park Village store, but we knew we needed to be there. All I gathered was that she was passing through Dallas and holding the event to celebrate her summer 2016 collection. Doesn’t everyone do that when they pass through cities for a night?
No matter how full your closet is, when attending an important fashion event, you essentially have nothing to wear. I settled on an indigo cotton off-the-shoulder dress and a pair of nude heeled sandals.
When I arrived at Highland Park Village, the carnival was well under way. Women in heels were playing games like ring toss and balloon pop, and children lined up to ride on the mini ferris wheel. Models wearing Stella’s latest designs manned the games and mingled with the guests. Well-heeled Dallasites snacked on vegan corndogs and vanilla bean and banana cream pie cotton candy sprinkled with edible glitter. Meanwhile, a band played Beatles songs on a stage filled with giant silver “Stella” balloons.
I met up with Scot and Kristi Redman, the photographers from D, and introduced myself to the woman in charge. She was wearing earbuds and a denim jumpsuit, and she carried a clipboard. She said that Stella was going to be late, but we were free to roam around. We walked around and Scot and Kristi, clearly regulars in this crowd, told me who everyone was.
“Oh, that’s the Bag Snob,” Scot said. “This is the IT crowd in Dallas.”
A group of women called me over and complimented me on my dress. One of them asked me “who” I was wearing.
“Thanks,” I said. “It’s actually from Madewell.”
The women guffawed. I think they were expecting me to name a high-end designer. “We can afford that!” one of them said.
Fortunately for me, this dress was eerily similar to one in the window of the Tory Burch store adjacent to the Stella location.
When Stella arrived, we were escorted to the storefront.
“Don’t ask any personal questions,” the woman in charge said. “And ask about her summer collection.”
Stella emerged from her store with a tall, handsome man with a French accent who stayed by her side.
She was wearing black dress pants, a white blouse, and a black blazer, which she draped over her shoulders. Her hair was parted in the middle and slicked flat to her head. Her makeup consisted of a cranberry colored eyeshadow lightly dusted on her lashlines.
I stood behind two other journalists, anxiously awaiting my turn. When they were finished, the Frenchman introduced me.
“This is Alison from D magazine,” he said.
The first thing I noticed were Stella’s piercing blue eyes. Her accent, thicker than I anticipated, was lovely.
I asked her about the inspiration for her summer collection and what to expect from her upcoming winter collection. She gave pretty cookie cutter answers. It wasn’t until I asked her about having an animal-friendly company that her eyes began to light up. She talked on and on about the importance of being informed and avoiding meat to save animals.
“It’s my biggest challenge every single day when I go to work — to approach luxury fashion in this kind of way is unheard of. It’s very new sadly and I’m weirdly the only one doing it,” said McCartney. “For us to be sustainable and responsible is just very important to me personally.”
When my time was up, I asked for a picture. Her handler had to take it to make sure it was acceptable. I handed him my phone.
While I only got 15 minutes with her, it was a great experience. It did put things in perspective, however.
The average woman can’t control the photos that are taken of her, and probably doesn’t realize all that goes into creating a flawless image on social media. It’s unfair for us to compare ourselves to people like Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner when photos of them looking disheveled rarely surface.
While most of us can’t throw a carnival at a moment’s notice, or expect to be escorted everywhere we go by a tall handsome Frenchman, we can still be fashionable. Even in a Madewell dress.