Stella McCartney Celebrates Her Pre-Fall Collection at Harlem's Cotton Club With a Little Help from Alicia Keys

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Alicia Keys caps off the night

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“I could listen to this music all night,” Jerry Seinfeld said, soaking up the sounds of the jazz band at the Cotton Club, the site of Stella McCartney’s autumn 2017 presentation.

Harlem’s storied Cotton Club is an unusual site for a fashion show (the 125th St. incarnation celebrates its 40th anniversary this year—the original one opened in 1923), and Jerry Seinfeld is an unusual guest at one, but that is Stella McCartney’s world. A world where Seinfeld (along with his wife, Jessica), art stars like Jeff Koons and Marilyn Minter, and actors like Julianne Moore and Maggie Gylenhaal sip champagne alongside fashion editors and McCartney-clad models—everyone dancing and singing (and Boomerang-ing) along to a surprise performance from Alicia Keys.

From L-R: Julianne Moore, Naomi Watts, Stella McCartney, Maggie Gylenhaal
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“The club is so iconic, so historical and New York is one of my favorite cities in the world,” McCartney said of her location choice. “To come and explore Harlem and the musical fashion here in this venue really relates to celebrating women and the collection.”

The collection, which McCartney described as “celebrating bold color and movement, exploring volumes and linear silhouettes” was a continuation of McCartney’s codes: luxe, easy pieces for a woman who is always moving—and doesn’t take herself too seriously. And if McCartney intended the collection to be a celebration of movement, what better way to show off the fringe, the cozy argyle knits, the oversized ruffles, then on a row of models dancing along the balcony to Alicia Keys.

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Of course, outside that champagne and music and model-filled club, Obama delivered his moving farewell address. A Trump presidency looms. I asked McCartney about where fashion and politics intersect, if they do at all. Should fashion have a message?

“I think it’s important to create, but to create in a way that makes a bold statement,” McCartney said. “I was more involved in doing that last season because it was during the electoral campaign here but also a reaction to Brexit.” McCartney noted that her last collection was full of message of love and optimism in response. “But I am always trying to consider the environment and trying to consider fellow creatures, not only humans but animals’ rights too. We are a house that is very sensitive all the time, as all fashion houses should be.”

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