Tuesday, 2 April 2013

the gardens of stella mccartney

For their November 2010 issue, Vogue US visited fashion designer Stella McCartney and her family in their redbrick Georgian manor in the English countryside. For some people this is probably old news but I never get tired of the images of the gardens and horses taken by Bruce Weber.

I find myself viewing these images regularly for inspiration and don't really know why I didn't post them sooner.

I think everyone knows that Stella is the daughter of Paul McCartney and Linda, who passed away in 1998. In 1995 she graduated from the Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design in London and in 1997 she became the Creative Director of Chloé in Paris. Now she runs her own very successful fashion house and what distinguishes it from most other brands is the fact that Stella doesn't use leather or fur in her designs.

It was Hamish Bowles who interviewed Stella back in 2010 for Vogue and in it he notes:
As in her fashion designs, Stella does not care for red or yellow and is drawn instead to the dusty pastels she loves—in fact, she even gave Tyler [her head gardener Anthony Tyler] fabric swatches when they were planning the plantings. “You don’t always get what you want,” she says, laughing. “We had tulips that were supposed to be white, and they opened yellow. I couldn’t look at them. I was literally like the Queen from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: ‘Paint them white!’ ”

In 2003 Stella got married to Alasdhair Willis, who founded and published Wallpaper magazine until 2002. He later turned to furniture design when he founded the company Established & Sons. When the couple got married the wedding guests were asked to give them trees instead of conventional presents and they were planted in the various gardens of the house. The garden to the left above is the Engagement Garden, which shows Alasdhair's taste for structure, and to the right is a detail from the Anniversary Garden, which has a special meaning to the couple:
The East Front’s Anniversary Garden, set within the old brick walls of the house’s original potager, is the grandest of all. It was created in 2009, in time to celebrate the couple’s sixth anniversary. As a carved slate panel attests, it was a gift from Alasdhair to “my beautiful wife Stella.” Here the upper terrace of Mediterranean plantings (gnarled ancient olive trees found in Pisa are underplanted with artichokes, and bays from Belgium) and a shaded fernery look down on a diagonally quartered plan of blue and pink gardens. Pergolas tumble with Constance Spry roses, and the beds are aflutter with foxgloves, peonies, and the irises that are Stella’s latest passion (“just the best colors”).

In the image below you see a sundial inscribed with lines from a poem in Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses.

If you have ever wondered from where fashion designers get their inspiration and why they choose certain colours for their collections then this part of the interview may enlighten you:
Sometimes I find a color in the garden I wouldn’t normally think of ... I enjoy them more in nature, and it makes me want to bring them into the collection. This spring I got a bit bored looking at fashion, and so I started looking at gardening books from the fifties and found these old botanical drawings and just got very inspired by them. So that became a bold part of our spring collection.

We will leave Stella's house in the country by enjoying the Wisteria sinensis on the eastern facade of the house.

I hope these images have left you inspired.

I had just started putting this post together when we all had a craving for pancakes. I am making them as I write this. The kitchen table is covered with paper, pencils and all kinds of crafty stuff that belongs to the children and I'm wondering how I will fit the pancakes and the plates. Now it's time to click 'publish' and whip the cream. Enjoy a wonderful day!

photo credit:
Bruce Weber for Vogue US, November 2010

The website of Stella McCartney


  1. Their garden is just too beautiful, I dream of having a garden like that! And I love that they asked their guests for trees as wedding gifts! Enjoy your pancakes, Lisa!xx

  2. Oh yes, these photos leave me very inspired. What a beautiful garden! And the wedding gifts, I can't think of anything more wonderful. I know for sure that the pancakes were delicious. :)

  3. Thank you; this post has most certainly inspired me!
    I love how Stella uses nature in determining her clothes' color palette...truly lovely.

    Hope you are enjoying those pancakes!!


  4. Beautiful inspiring photographs, they also make me feel rather homesick for my childhood in England.
    Enjoy your family time:)
    Wendy x

  5. SM is one of my favorite designers of all time. The gardens are so beautiful, it looks like a fairytale. Inspiration must come so easily in a place of such magic. Thanks for posting this article. I never knew she went to Central St. Martin!

    Great blog, btw, would you like to follow each other?



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