Ocean’s Kingdom, Sir Paul McCartney’s new ballet, premiered at New York City’s Lincoln Center last night amid the inevitable flurry of media interest that surrounds the ex-Beatles icon’s musical happenings. But this occasion was especially notable for McCartney: his collaboration with New York Ballet master Peter Martins marks McCartney’s first (official) foray into a classical music form, an artistic risk that seems to be paying off, based on last night’s enthused audience response. Ocean’s Kingdom, by proxy, also became an important collaborative milestone for his daughter, renowned designer Stella McCartney, who was asked to costume the show.
The honor comes at an ideal time for Stella, who will present her Spring 2012 collection on October 3rd in Paris. As one of London’s design elite, her touch can be observed within the work of many of the young British designers who presented this past week for the city’s Fashion Week. Naturally, Ocean’s Kingdom’s winning superstar father/daughter dynamic provides a satsifying finale to London’s week of warmth in an international spotlight.
In an interview with the BBC, the designer described the experience of working with her father as poignant: “You have that emotion of feeling very proud and then you realise you are working with ‘Sir Paul McCartney’ and that’s really exciting.” She added to The Daily Beast that, “it took 10 years to get to that stage and to have the confidence that [working with him] wasn’t total nepotism. It was the right time. Definitely it was about having fun.”
Describing her role to the BBC as fulfilling “a technical need,” Stella said she consulted with her father on the aesthetics of the production,though he largely left the visual decisions up to her. The opportunity to convey agility, movement, and grace — considered her core strengths as a designer — on a more complex platform than a runway provided an invigorating challenge, but she was well-prepared. Stella incorporated her considerable experience melding athletic forms (through her ongoing collaboration with Adidas) with the vibrant and serene colors of the depths of the sea. “I do performance wear, and these dancers are athletes, so I have an understanding of that.” she told The Daily Beast. “And it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that you have to use stretch materials if you’re working with ballerinas.”