In its dusty rose hues, its emerald greens, its campy embroideries, and trippy fonts that make you feel as though you’re reading 3D print without the proper glasses, Stella McCartney’s Spring/Summer 2017 debut menswear collection has a reduxed LSD vibe. It will therefore come as no great plot twist that Stella’s iconic dad was an inspiration for her first ever menswear collection. After all, the British-born, London-trained designer was raised in the gloaming of Paul’s post-Beatles fame and has worked to come out from underneath it since her first internship with Christian Lacroix at age 15. But now the prodigal daughter returns by harkening back to the mind-expanding drugs and experimental art of the late 60s for her maiden voyage into menswear.
Looking at this new collection, it is not just the outline of Paul that can be found. With its kaleidoscopic aesthetic, androgynous palette, and loose silhouettes, the collection reads like an homage to the heightened political awareness that came as part and parcel of the culture of psychedelics. Resisting the siren call of pure nostalgia, Stella has mixed these elements with those of 90s Britpop grunge to create a new visual composite of subcultures. New Age guru and psychedelic writer Alan Watts once said that “trying to define yourself is like trying to bite your own teeth,” but Stella has been able to define her brand through ethical production without sacrificing her free-loving lineage. For Stella, social activism and sustainability are not bumper stickers—they are her design principles.