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Associated Press

ALL HOLLYWOOD The new Stella McCartney boutique, outfitted for the opening party.




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McCartney, Stella



McCartney, Paul


Associated Press

Cate Blanchett and Stella McCartney at the opening party.

Associated Press

Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher.


Sir Paul's Little Girl Opens in Los Angeles


Published: October 5, 2003


On the driveway leading to the back garden at 8823 Beverly Boulevard last Sunday night, a hot-dog cart stocked with vegetarian wieners was on hand to feed the guests at the opening of the designer Stella McCartney's West Hollywood boutique. Across from the cart stood a fun-house mirror to let them see how they would look tall and thin. (As if that were necessary.)

Given her British rock royalty pedigree and her endorsement by Gwyneth Paltrow, Madonna and other West End-bound American actors, it is easy to understand why Los Angeles is so invested in Ms. McCartney, who is 32. There is also the fact that this is a town in which trashed T-shirts fetch $200, so her designs, which are both tailored enough to look worldly, yet suitably deconstructed to withstand a hard day's night, seem as if they have been part of the wardrobe for ages.

"She's a real cool chick," declared the ice-blond actress Portia de Rossi, 30, looking very tall and very thin without the help of a mirror in holographic vinyl stiletto heels and a strappy white fencing jacket from Ms. McCartney's new collection. "It's great that there's a woman designing for 30-year-old women," Ms. de Rossi continued, pausing to greet Jacqueline Bisset with a kiss. "When she first started designing for Chloé, I practically went bankrupt."

In the crush of hundreds, including Quincy Jones and Cate Blanchett, Ms. de Rossi and her companion, the recording artist Francesca Gregorini, who is the stepdaughter of Ringo Starr, came to sing the praises of Paul McCartney's little girl. But where was she?

It scarcely mattered. The crowd was preoccupied with Ms. McCartney's latest makeover, of a former antiques emporium: the two-story ivy-covered building had been reconfigured into a third Stella McCartney boutique, following ateliers in London and New York. Since 2001, when she left Chloé, Ms. McCartney's label and its international expansion have been underwritten by the Gucci Group.

Outside, a brick patio, which will serve as the store's valet parking lot, had been transformed into the stage for an English garden party with tailored furniture upholstered in beige linen. Cigarette girls sauntered through the crowd, toting black velvet boxes trimmed with jet beads and laden with perfume samples, English candies and Hollywood brand gum.

At 7 p.m., one hour after the D.J. Javier Natureboy kicked the party into gear with vintage disco and current club anthems including FannyPack's "Cameltoe," Ms. McCartney faced the flash bulbs. Wearing ruched trousers that stopped just below her knees and a black suit jacket of her own design, the ponytailed Ms. McCartney paused at the threshold of her store to critique her own red carpet turn: "Whore, whore, whore," she said, laughing before turning to lavish attention on Pocket, a dachshund-Chihuahua mix wearing a T-shirt designed by his owner, Johnson Hartig of Libertine.

Next in the receiving line was Evelyn, the 19-month-old daughter of Debi Mazar, an actress, who was wearing the same $1,065 seafoam green McCartney ensemble as a mannequin in the shop's window. "I can't do this all night," Ms. McCartney laughed, sucking on the tiny finger Evelyn kept sticking in her mouth.

Wearing a princess coat like a tiny Caroline Kennedy, Ms. Mazar's daughter was one of many guests who helped raise the style bar for the evening. Shiva Rose, the wife of the actor Dylan McDermott, turned up in vintage McCartney, cutting a lithe figure in a garnet slip and French blue stockings. Even Pamela Anderson, a good deal shyer, smaller and prettier than she appears on screen, was turned out tastefully, though not in Stella. "I wore her every day when I hosted London Fashion Week," Ms. Anderson said, before dashing off to put her two sons to bed.

For a good 15 minutes, Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore, who was dressed in McCartney, stopped traffic before settling in on a sofa at the rear of the garden. Then, as the electroclash tune "Do I Look Like a Slut?" by Avenue D came on, Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers arrived — the first of a rush of musicians, including Rufus Wainwright, former members of Guns N' Roses and the rapper-actress Eve.

By then the sun had set and cotton candy, taffy apples, bags of sugary popcorn and scones with clotted cream were making the rounds. A screen in the garden flickered with Elia Kazan's "Streetcar Named Desire," sans sound, and at the inevitable moment, people started imitating Marlon Brando's wanton cries of "Stella! STEL-LA!"

Finishing a vegetarian burger and a martini glass filled with the evening's signature cocktail, the Stellapolitan, Ms. McCartney reached for her beaded bag, took out a friend's Chanel compact and quickly dusted her face with powder. "World domination," she declared dramatically, when asked what she had planned next. Clearly, she was kidding.

A woman approached, gushing excitedly that she shared the same birthday — Sept. 13, 1971 — as the designer. "Is she bossy?" Ms. McCartney joked with the woman's male companion. "I am."

Not tonight. Ms. McCartney got the party started and like the silent Stella Kowalski on-screen, got the colored lights going. "I'm smiling at people I don't even know," she said, a grin plastered across her face.