Two columns of chandeliers hung from the painted ceiling of the Paris Opera Monday morning as guests filled the Palais Garnier to attend Stella McCartney's fall 2019 show. The space epitomizes a visual of sartorial elegance, which is characteristic of both the French capital and the British designer. McCartney, who has long been a one of the fashion industry's champions when it comes to environmental awareness, wanted the focus of sustainability to exceed her use of ethically-sourced materials. This season, McCartney called on her guests to dedicate a tree to a loved one in an effort to spotlight the environmental degradation taking place in the Leuser ecosystem in Sumatra, Indonesia.
McCartney's latest collection exhibited her signature sharp tailoring, belted silhouettes, loose-fitting frocks and vegan leather. The designer also printed sustainable messages on the catwalk that read #thereshegrows, to further highlight her environmental focus. According to the company's press release, McCartney sources her materials from a certified controlled forrest in Sweden, and created the detailing on the multicolored fringe dress using strips of vintage t-shirts. Additionally, the accessories which floated down the runway, including paper-clip earrings and rubber-band accented necklaces, emphasized the designer's commitment to upcycling.
150 million trees in the endangered rainforest are cut down each year in large part for the production of fabric. The region is home to a diverse ecosystem, which includes rhinos, tigers, elephants and vegetation, and its degradation would undoubtedly put these species at risk. McCartney partnered with the environmental organization Canopy to develop awareness and raise funds for the conservation of the Leuser region.
One of the attendees on the show's star-studded guest list was Oprah Winfrey, who flew to Paris particularly for McCartney's runway show. In a statement to WWD, the multi-hyphenate icon applauded the designer's sustainable gesture and announced that she will be planting an oak tree. "I'm going to plant an oak because I already have hundreds of oaks in my yard. I'm a tree person," Oprah explained. "They represent the stability of life, the stillness of life, so I'm going to do one in honor of my mother."