Number 23 might be a grade II listed 18th-century building, but inside it’s a modern multi-sensory experience that explores the brand’s philosophy to reclaim, re-use and recycle. "Stella Rocks", an indoor rockery comprised of rocks sourced from the McCartney farm in Campbeltown and replanted moss and thyme, greets guests on the ground floor; office waste paper has been transformed into decorative papier-mâché panels on the first floor; pink fur-free fur material from previous collections lines the walls of the “Stellavator”; and the prized vintage furniture she has acquired over the years is given homes next to reclaimed timber plinths, silicone installations and foam speakers. It’s a textural feast, and that’s not even taking into account the ball pool and climbing wall (all white, very chic) in the children’s department.
Every single aspect has been keeping McCartney awake at night. “I care too much!” she laughs. “And you just end up thinking, “Am I really going to do a papier-mâché wall of all the shredded paper in the office? Does pink silicone really sit well on reclaimed Venetian wood? Am I really going to have meditation, in a changing room? I questioned every element of it a million times! But the only way I could create a shop was having that level of honesty. If I try to be a shop that I am not, then I am not sure it would work.”
The drawback of tackling this project alone, she discloses , is “not having an interior designer or an architect to say, 'No, Stella! Stop buying stuff! And think about where you're putting it.'” But that’s precisely what makes the 700 sq m space feel personal. “I love the emotion in this, I love the emotion in that!,” she says gesturing towards a fitting room, where the dulcet tones of Bob Roth, who taught her children how to meditate, can be heard, and the colourful ceramic gemstone fixtures inspired by her own childhood memories spent playing with pebble-dashed walls.
“I would not for one moment pretend that we don't feel like this is a big, big moment for us,” she admits. “There is a lot of courage involved, and it’s not something anyone takes lightly.” A sentiment that is literally stitched into the building of 23 Old Bond Street, where the hand prints of Stella McCartney team members from around the world are embroidered onto the walls of a fitting room.
“We are living in the moment, but, really, we are at the start,” she muses. “It feels like we are at the beginning of something new, which is exciting.” For now, she must prep for an intimate opening party where her close friends will cut the ribbon, and put the final touches to her “Members and Non Members Only” room – a customisable layer hidden behind a concealed door on the second floor. Its first iteration will be a private atelier housing 23 lily-white and 23 onyx-black dresses inspired by the Duchess of Sussex’s history-making evening dress. Select Stella McCartney clients will be invited by personal email to view this capsule collection at number 23, because, like the myriad aspects in McCartney’s new home, it’s all been considered down to the letter.