After becoming an ethical vegan in the early 2000s, I surrendered to a certain future of PVC shoes and faux leather handbags. It was easier to give up cheeseburgers than it was to say farewell to my leather accessories. And with Sex and the City there to remind me of all I was missing, it was enough to make me wish I’d never watched all those damn PETA videos about leather production. The saving grace was I couldn't afford Manolos and Jimmy Choos when I first went vegan.
While I made do for years with the vegan accessories available to me at the time (thank God for Moo Shoes), I still wished for tonier, higher quality options. What was a veganista to do? Then I found Stella McCartney, a high-end designer who launched her eponymous brand in 2001. A life-long vegetarian, Stella McCartney shuns fur and leather (although she uses silk and wool), and creates ethical, sustainable, all vegan shoes and bags. Her chic, fashion-forward designs are coveted by celebrities and fashionistas the world over.
My love for all things Stella runs deep. I’m talking bathymetrically deep. I started my Stella collection with an inexpensive T-shirt from her 2005 H&M collaboration. Now, more than a decade later, my closet is filled with Stella. I love her feminine, tailored suiting; her figure-flattering dresses; and her prints, especially the big cat motifs. I'm also a diehard Falabella fan. I wear other designers, but my ideal ensemble is tip to toe Stella. Sublime. Over the years, I’ve relaxed some on my stance regarding leather shoes, but I still prefer to buy vegan. Stella makes it possible. And fashionable.
Given my admiration obsession, you can imagine how geeked I was when I found out last year that Houston was getting its very own Stella boutique. Game. On. Next, imagine my delight when I received an invitation to the grand opening. The guest of honor? Stella McCartney, of course! My first thought after I picked myself up off the floor was, I’m going to meet Stella! My second: What am I going to wear?
The party was this past Monday (that's me in image 19!). There were about 40 of us packed into the boutique. I felt like one of those teenage girls in the old news reels of fans awaiting the arrival of another famous McCartney. Among the fashionable set, Stella is just as famous, if not more so, than her father, Paul.
When she finally floated into the store, she was wearing a drapey all-in-one and blazer, both from her current collection. Her attire was black, but she looked like an angel. I found my voice and said hello. She looked me up and down, smiled, and said, “Look at you. I love what you’re wearing.”
“It’s all thanks to YOU,” I said stammered. Then, clutching our respective Falabellas, we leaned in for the best picture I’ve ever taken.