Stella McCartney's graduation show has gone down in fashion history. When the fledgling designer completed her degree from Central Saint Martins in 1995, she had a trio of close friends model her final collection on the catwalk. Those friends happened to be Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, and Yasmin Le Bon.
Looking back on the show more than 20 years later, McCartney admits she feels "a bit embarrassed." The supermodels' presence on the catwalk turned a relatively humble graduation show into "headline news," and may have "pissed off" her classmates.
"I look back on that moment and just feel a bit embarrassed that I was so naive," McCartney said on the latest episode of Radio 4's Desert Island Discs. "They were my mates and that's who I was hanging out with when I was at college – I mean, Kate was living with me for a period of time. So when it came to choosing the models for my degree show, I kind of thought I might as well ask my friends."
"But it was a very Brit moment. It was a moment where Brit was flying," she added. "These girls were traveling the world representing Great Britain, really. I do think, had another person have asked them [to model a graduation show], that they might have done it."
During the episode, McCartney also revealed that she used a different surname at school so people wouldn't realize who her father was. "I would always be Stella Martin at school. That was always a bit confusing for people," she recalled. "When I started college I tried to do it under a different name. I would never tell anyone. The discovery was always a bit painful – when you could tell people in the corridor were kind of looking at you differently. It would always be a bit, 'Oh God.'"
Hearteningly, McCartney also revealed that nearly 80% of people working at her company are women. Asked why comparatively few top fashion designers are female, she replied: "I think it was always that idea that the men in the boardroom chose the men in the design room, possibly, and maybe historically women felt comfortable with men dressing them. I think it's changed. I think women designing for women is really powerful and really important. "