To celebrate the launch of her new global flagship on 23 Old Bond Street, Stella McCartney has designed a capsule collection of 23 lily-white and 23 onyx-black evening dresses. Each gown in the “Made with Love” edit is identical: high-neck, low-backed, floor-sweeping and the mirror image of the dress worn by the Duchess of Sussex to her wedding reception at Frogmore Hall in the grounds of Windsor Castle.
“I knew when I was working on the dress with Meghan that it was beautiful,” McCartney tells Vogue after an exclusive preview of her four-level multi-sensory shopping experience. “I knew it would be a dress that people would want, and, in that moment, you can think, ‘Nobody can have it!’, or you can share it. It’s a very ‘Stella McCartney’ dress, so it didn’t feel like I was cheating anyone, or not being us.”
The “Made with Love” gowns, which are each crafted from sustainable viscose and priced at £3,500 (SAR/AED 17,000), will be available to view by private appointment for one week from June 13 within the “Members and Non Members Only” club at No 23. The catch? Clients have to email email@example.com, and receive a personal reply from McCartney inviting them into her exclusive hideout concealed from the public on the second floor.
The “M&NMO” – an interchangeable space for events, exhibitions and exclusive product launches – has been decked out like McCartney’s atelier for the occasion, complete with sketches, fabric samples and The Dress itself.
“I feel very protective of [Meghan’s gown], which is why I haven’t done any interviews,” she says coyly. “To be entrusted with something so personal, so important and so meaningful feels like a real privilege as a designer, and as a woman, I don’t care who the bride is!”
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The public moment was the culmination of numerous brand conversations about branching out into bridalwear. “I have been making wedding dresses forever!” she laughs. “I made my own, I made them when I was at Chloé, I’ve made a number of high-profile wedding dresses, but I don’t tend to talk about it. It’s just that now, somebody with very, very high exposure chose us, and we created something that people reacted positively to.”
She “feels weird” discussing the collaboration in detail, but she will admit that she got goosebumps when she saw the newly-crowned Duchess whisked off to her wedding reception wearing Stella McCartney. “It was her second wedding dress, and it was her moment,” she says of watching Prince Harry hold the door of silver-blue Jaguar open for his bride. “I felt that the dress represented her, it was a little whiff of her spirit. I love that.”
McCartney will, however, talk freely about the two royal wedding guests wearing her designs: Oprah Winfrey – “I worship her!” – and Amal Clooney – “she is the real deal”. “I’m friends with them both of them, so it was a very natural, effortless experience. I think that’s why it was so well-received,” she recalls. Winfrey came to her with a piece of Stella McCartney knitwear and asked the designer to make something similar, while Clooney worked directly with her to create a sunshine-yellow dress that reflected her style. “That’s what we do at the house of Stella McCartney, we design clothes that women choose to wear, as opposed to letting the clothes wear them.”
“For a lot of houses, [the royal wedding] would be a defining moment, but, for us, it’s a compliment,” she continues. “We just get on with stuff, and I think that is why Meghan chose us.” That drive, or simply “getting on with things”, is precisely why 2018 is shaping up to be the year of Stella McCartney.
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This article originally appeared on Vogue.co.uk