Posted by Bethan Holt, Junior Fashion Editor at Large

There are plenty of brands around who you may think are trying to sell you a pair of shoes, or a jumper but really it's all about the life. Ralph Lauren and his wholesome all-American good life comes to mind as a classic example.  But if there's one woman who represents a perfected version of modern life, and can sell you must of the stuff you need to look the part, then Stella McCartney is your woman. Obviously, if you're going to look good in your strapless jumpsuit then exercise should be a key component of the Stella way of living, hence her almost decade long collaboration with Adidas. With that in mind, I popped over to Stella's Adidas store on Brompton Road to have a peek at the new Spring/ Summer collection and meet the woman herself.

Stella and I
"It's so much easier to lie on the sofa watching TV and eating a brownie" is one of the first things Stella tells us, "this collection is really about encouraging and inspiring something which isn't always so easy". The store is dotted with pieces which look almost too good to get sweaty in; icy blue metallic shorts, leopard print jackets, ditsy English garden florals and a very appealing tennis dress called The Barricade. On the walls, are zinging, psychedelic campaign images with models doing back flips, leaps and sprints. It really does make you want to get up and go.

"These are the pieces women deserve" Stella McCartney

It's easy now to take for granted that us girls have plenty of choice when it comes to really stylish yet technical and functional sportswear. But it was Stella McCartney's Adidas hook-up which really spurred on the world of sport to play fashion catch-up. It all began with a respect for the technical prowess of sportswear. "I wanted to do a sneaker on the runway, but I've never been a huge fan of fashion sneakers. I like sneakers to be technical, then bring fashion to it" Stella says. And so, women finally had something really desirable to wear when they exercised, rather than apologetically throwing on their boyfriend's musty old t-shirt. There's still progress to be made though Stella insists, "women in sport are totally undervalued. Men drive the industry, they have more investment. Football is king. These are reasons to encourage women to do sport".

Multiple collections, forays into many sports and one Olympics design job later, Stella's outlook is still pretty empowering. She uses words like "bold"and "celebrate" in reference to the latest offering. "Let's not apologise for anything" is the mantra. Her own latest exercise obsession is paddle boarding, so naturally she's catered for that. "I love that you're just outside, experiencing nature. If you get a chance to paddle board outside in the freezing cold Thames it's pretty delightful" she enthuses, though perhaps we should wait until it heats up a little for that foray?

Stella McCartney for Adidas SS13. All about "the real joy of working out"
"I'm over feeling ashamed that you might bump into someone you know when you're running.
When I run I want to feel like if I run into someone, I'm proud of the way I look" Stella McCartney
There are elements of Stella's ready-to-wear which have crept into the Adidas collection, despite efforts to keep them quite separate over the years. The Resort collection leopard print, the SS13 ditsy florals and popping bright colours, but all given a techy acid makeover. McCartney denies that sportswear being fashionable is any new thing, "there's always been energy in sportswear. I don't think it's just now. Think of the 80s. At some stage everything ends up on a runway. It's always been part of what I do". The added benefit of an Adidas x Stella McCartney product is that it will be infused with technology like Climacool or Techfit or some cutting edge new invention like water-free dye. It's a level of functionality which you don't see on most brands. And ethics, which we all know is a huge part of the no fur, no leather Stella life. But not even she is completely flawless; it was up to Adidas to teach her about the harmful effects of PVC.

In case you live on Planet Zog, you will be aware that it was Stella who was responsible for Team GB's kit at last year's olympics, all those slinky racing suits and peplum podium jackets. However she's actually just like you (maybe) and me (definitely) when it comes to what the Olympics meant. "My memory of it is more just experiencing it, like all of you guys. It was so surreal that I'd worked on it and when I watched it, those were things I designed. It was just too huge and surreal to think of it that way". Luckily, she's up for doing it all over again too, "I'd love to do it again, I'd do it forever and ever".

Images courtesy of Stella McCartney/ Adidas. Visit the Stella McCartney for Adidas store at 97, Brompton Road.


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