Stella by Stella: Stella McCartney reimagines Frank Stella’s artworks for A/W 2022

First shown at Paris’ Pompidou Centre, Stella McCartney’s fashion-art crossover for A/W 2022 sees the designer reinterpret the artworks of American painter and sculptor Frank Stella through clothes

Model wears Stella McCartney dress A/W 2022
Dress, £1,550; boots, £945, both by Stella McCartney. Fashion: Jason Hughes
(Image credit: Georgia Devey Smith)

The upper floor of the Centre Pompidou in Paris provided the setting for Stella McCartney’s A/W 2022 collection. The location was chosen not simply for its majestic views of the city beyond, but for its collection of artworks by American painter and sculptor Frank Stella, which McCartney notes is the most comprehensive in Europe. 

The collaboration between the pair is titled ‘Stella by Stella’, seeing one Stella (McCartney) interpret the work of another (Frank) in a fashion-art crossover which informs the entire A/W 2022 collection. Such a catchy refrain makes their partnership seem written in fate; indeed, McCartney notes post-show that she had been a fan and acquaintance of Stella for some time, seeing the movement across his career from minimalist to maximalist abstraction as similar to the juxtapositions in her own clothing. 

Model wears colourful Stella McCartney A/W 2022, a collection inspired by the paintings of Frank Stella,, photographed inside the Centre Pompidou

Stella McCartney A/W 2022 at the Pompidou Centre.

(Image credit: Courtesy of Stella McCartney)

His vivid works illuminate a collection in which McCartney evokes her woman for the season as both creator and collector, transforming clothing into ‘pragmatic works of art’. Spanning the late 1960s to the mid-1990s, the various artworks by Stella – including Swan Engraving III (1982), Ahab (1988), Spectralia (1994) and V Series (1968) – are either printed verbatim onto the clothing or otherwise used as a starting point for McCartney’s own linear motifs, which zig-zag across tailoring and knitwear, the latter sliced-away at the sleeves. 

The designer has also drawn on Stella’s own life, looking towards his time spent embedded in the New York art scene in the 1980s, when he would work during the day and party with the city’s burgeoning creative community at night. Strong shoulders are a distinct reference to that era – notably across McCartney’s now signature fur-free coats, here nipped at the waist with a tie fastening – while looped and ruched viscose dresses arrive in a vibrant palette, primed for the dance floor. As ever, sustainable innovation is present throughout, from grape-leather sneakers to recycled nylon, polyester and regenerative wool.

Model on escalator at Centre Pompidou wears Stella McCartney

Stella McCartney A/W 2022 at the Pompidou Centre

(Image credit: Courtesy of Stella McCartney)

McCartney notes that Stella had final approval on each of the garments, a process she admits was ‘terrifying’ due to what she deemed the artist’s own great taste and encyclopaedic knowledge of art and design. On his part, Stella had an unexpected link to fashion in his mother, who initially studied fashion design before retiring to become a housewife. ‘When she dressed up, she was glamorous,’ he remembers. 

At heart, though, it is the artist’s rule-breaking approach – rarely sticking to a defined style for long and having a reputation for a feisty reproach – which provides the energy behind Stella by Stella. It’s a spirit of rebellion long evoked by McCartney in her own collections, which confound expectations of sustainable design.

INFORMATION

A version of this article appears in the November 2022 issue of Wallpaper*, available in print, on the Wallpaper* app on Apple iOS, and to subscribers of Apple News +. Subscribe to Wallpaper* today!

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Fashion Features Editor

Jack Moss is the Fashion Features Editor at Wallpaper*. Having previously held roles at 10, 10 Men and AnOther magazines, he joined the team in 2022. His work has a particular focus on the moments where fashion and style intersect with other creative disciplines – among them art and design – as well as championing a new generation of international talent and profiling the industry’s leading figures and brands. 

With contributions from