Stella McCartney: ‘As one of the first nepo babies I had the privilege of choice’

Stella McCartney is a nepo baby. She wasn’t the first and she won’t be the last. Being Paul McCartney’s daughter opened a lot of doors for her. I remember her early days as a fashion designer, and it was a big deal that Paul would come to her shows to lend his support, but that was pretty much the reason she was hired in the first place. I also remember the rumors of her stealing from other designers when she was at Chloe, and a more recent controversy was when she put her stink on African designs and called them “British.” While it’s great that she was at the forefront of sustainable and no-leather fashion, I think many of us would admit that her designs are (for the most part) kind of awful. Anyway, please allow Stella to tell you about how she’s a nepo baby who works hard:

Stella McCartney has had a groundbreaking career in fashion, but she’s not forgetting where she came from. In a new interview with TIME released Wednesday, the 51-year-old designer — who’s branded herself as a steadfast proponent of expelling fur, leather, feathers and animal hide from her sustainable collections — addressed being a “nepo baby” of former Beatle Paul McCartney and his late wife Linda, herself an animal rights activist and artist.

“As one of the first nepo babies I had the privilege of choice. I’m very aware of how lucky I’ve been to be accepted to work in this way since day one,” said Stella. But even with a famous surname giving her a head start, she’s faced difficulties in terms of standing up to the status quo.

“I’ve had moments where I’ve been challenged very heavily to change my morals for the success of the company,” she remembered of an instance in which she was urged to use leather.

Her Grammy-winning father, 81, also spoke with the outlet about his children’s upbringings, including their local school education. “They had to take a bit of flak for having a famous dad, but it toughened them up,” he said of his four kids with Linda.

“One side was this farm life, and the other side was the stage, with glittery boots and glamour,” Stella recalled of her unique childhood. “It was an early inspiration.” She later went on to attend Central St. Martins, a prestigious art and design college in London. “She had to prove herself,” Paul shared. “I said, if she doesn’t do well at the end of that year, then the name is not something to help, it’s a cudgel to beat her with. But she did well.”

[From People]

I’m sure that her name has made her a bigger target within the fashion industry, especially in her earlier years. But again, she wouldn’t have been in a position to be “targeted” without all of that nepotism. Something that’s so funny to me is when nepo babies are like “stop judging me by my family, judge me by my work” and their work is trash. Like… what did you actually learn at that prestigious design school? What did you learn at that nepo-position at Chloe?

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

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43 Responses to “Stella McCartney: ‘As one of the first nepo babies I had the privilege of choice’”

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  1. Amy Bee says:

    When she broke out on the scene the only thing people talked about was that she was Paul McCartney’s daughter not her designs.

    • Josephine says:

      to give her credit, they also talked about how absolutely awful her designs were (and they still do). she could make a model look dumpy, frumpy and lumpy. that takes courage, y’all!

      and even calling herself one of the first nepo babies is so out of touch and arrogant.

    • Delphine says:

      To give her extra credIt her father wasn’t born rich so at least she’s just first generation nepo baby. But we all know she would not have her career if she weren’t born rich with connections. Also BEATLES

  2. C says:

    I want her to stop talking and just bring back the Stella and Stella Rose Absolute perfumes. The best rose scents of all time. Way better than her clothes tbh.

    • Beth says:

      Yes! I thought that as soon as I saw the headline. Stella was my go-to perfume for years and then it was just gone-I couldn’t even stock up because I had no idea they were yanking it. She should stick to perfume, she seems to be better at it.

    • Boxy Lady says:

      @C and @Beth sells the perfume oil of Stella. (I didn’t see any other Stella McCartney scents, I’m sorry.) I order perfume oils from them on a regular basis. The shipping is kinda expensive but the actual oils aren’t, so I usually order in bulk. Hope this helps!

      • C says:

        Thanks for the heads up!!

      • kirk says:

        @Boxy Lady – Thank you for that website with an overwhelming array of scents! Not sure how I’m going to use it, but I fell in love with a rose scented lotion that I’m running out of. So thanks to @C @Beth and @DeeSea also for info about Stella!

    • DeeSea says:

      Stella is one of my all-time favorite scents, and I’m devastated that my last remaining bottle is nearly empty.

      Beyond her scents, I also enjoy many of her collabs with Adidas and some of her handbags, especially because I avoid leather. And some of her other designs are surprisingly gorgeous—but most of them skew hideous. It’s a real mixed bag.

  3. Chantale says:

    The world we live in will always be kinder for children with famous last names. However, if Stella was not talented she would not have lasted. She would have shifted from one job to another trying to market that famous name. We know a lot famous children who have gone nowhere and done nothing due to lack of talents. The lucky ones understand the door was open for them since their birth and they use that opportunity to show their talents. It is that simple. Fair it is not, but the world has never been fair, unfortunately.

    • ⁷Tree says:

      But stella is different. She has Beatles money and connections. She doesn’t have to turn a profit.

  4. Lightpurple says:

    One of the first?

    Stares hard in Fonda, Coppola, Howard, Sinatra, Nelson & Barrymore. John Wayne put every family member in his movies.

    I’m sorry but I find the entire McCartney clan insufferable

  5. Bettyrose says:

    Anyone else think the header pic Lindsay Lohan?

    • Flamingo says:

      No, I think Motherhood has greatly agreed with Lindsay and she looks the best she ever has lately. Being in such a good place with a peaceful family life. Lindsay is also 14 years younger than Stella.

  6. February Pisces says:

    I don’t look at Stella and think ‘fashion icon’, I just know she stocks everywhere but her designers are forgettable and have never really had any impact on me. Also having Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell modelling in your graduate show when your a student screams ‘privilege’ and gave her career a massive head start. However Stella has said that she since regrets that.

  7. Nicki says:

    Year after year her designs are just awful. The only thing of hers I ever liked was Meghan’s reception dress, which was stunning

    • Libra says:

      Second this.

      • BothSidesNow says:

        As do I. As for the nepotism, she opened her solo line in 2001. How many talented designers are able to start their own fashion house at such a young age?? Hell, even Gloria Vanderbilt didn’t start hers until she was at least middle aged!! And all she started with was something small, jeans!! Which were fabulous, BTW!! GV had the chops. SMcC doesn’t.

    • SpankyB says:

      And IMO, that dress won the wedding. I remember gasping when I saw the video of Meghan walking out the door and into the car in that dress. Was completely shocked it was a Stella McCartney. Still shocked.

      • Haus of Cats says:

        That dress is one of my all time favorite looks! The dress, Diana’s giant aquamarine ring, the convertible. So glam. If I ever lose this menopause weight and get married, I’m wearing a knock off of that dress.

    • Meh says:

      To be fair, Meghan probably collab-designed the entire dress.

      • Flamingo says:

        That’s why I keep hoping she fully re-launches her Tig brand. I think Meghan has amazing taste. And could really do something wonderful in the fashion community.

        I remember she did the Charity Smart Works Capsule Collection in 2019. The designs were polished and lovely.

  8. ElleE says:

    I really like her clothes and it seemed like it first she was just designing for her friend circle, like Jude Law’s 1st wife and that whole gang that ran together. Those ladies were papped all the time and wearing their friend’s designs and really gave a boost to Stella.

    Her designs have staying power; here we are, nearly 20 years later, still talking about our clothing line.

    • Josephine says:

      Yikes on the staying power comment. It feels like people can name one dress that she designed.

    • Matilda says:

      At least Stella went and studied at a prestigious design school unlike so many nepo babies who just point at designs made by real designers and call it their own. My friend has been working on a capsule collection for Kylie Jenner (she is one of many designers auditioning for this position) and all Kylie has to do is say what she likes and doesn’t like and make it into her own brand whereas Stella at least knows how to sketch and make a pattern.

  9. ElleE says:

    And how is she saying she’s the first Nepo baby?
    What about Sigourney Weaver and Melanie Griffith and Jamie Lee Curtis?? They paved the way! lol

    She’s not even the first Beatles Nepo baby -Julian Lennon had an album with some really good songs.

    • Boxy Lady says:

      And Liza Minnelli was big before all of them. But she’s so extraordinarily talented that everyone forgets she had two famous parents.

  10. Sumodo1 says:

    Other nepo babies like Liv Tyler loved wearing Stella’s designs and there are worse designers. To be fair, she studied design at Central St Martins to name one. She’s just ok.

  11. Aidee Kay says:

    I like some of Stella’s designs and am meh on many, but as a massive Beatles and Paul fan, I am glad she seems to be an okay person and isn’t falling out of cars drunk or high. Paul and Linda were extremely hands-on parents and I think they did a good job teaching their kids to not be assholes. But for sure Stella is no McQueen or any kind of designer whose eye and taste revolutionized the world.

  12. Flamingo says:

    I want to give her a little wiggle room for the statement about being ‘the first’ nepo baby. I interpreted it as she was one of the first that was celebrated for who her Father is being connected to him. And using those advantages in her career with her name. As opposed to someone who has a legacy name like Kennedy or Fonda. They weren’t pushing who their Daddy was ahead of them for attention early in their careers.

    Paul showed up at her shows knowing that his appearances will drive the media to cover her fashion line. If her name was Stella Smith. No one would be hiring her at Chloe or funding her Fashion Line.

    And really, calling yourself the first ‘nepo baby’ is such a nepo baby thing to do. They can’t see past their noses most of the time.

  13. pyritedigger says:

    After she left Chloe, her early collections were absolutely awful. She’s definitely better now, but given how much trouble even Posh Spice has turning a profit, I doubt she’d still be here if it wasn’t for who she is.

    That said, her collab with Adidas is always on point. If I had more money and be indulging in that activewear every season.

    • Flamingo says:

      Not fashion, but I am a huge fan of Victoria Beckham’s luxury makeup line. It’s worth the money to me. If I could afford all of it. I would own everything she comes out with.

      • Digital Unicorn says:

        I totally agree on Beckham’s make up line – its very good. A bit overpriced and her designs have also gotten better over the years. I think she learned the hard way that she should have gone highstreet/mass market before going high end.

  14. Thinking says:

    David Beckham’s son stinks at everything he tries, including staying in shape (go figure). So I tend to think the nepo-babies who have staying power probably do work hard, at least to some degree. Not sure about talent, but I think you’d have to be willing to work hard to keep people from laughing at you. Nepo-babies don’t have obstacles, but some kind of work ethic or discipline should probably be there. If you are completely terrible at everything you try like the Beckham kid, I believe the market will let you know. See also Tori Spelling after 90210 was cancelled. Although even she seems to work harder than the Beckham kid.

  15. bears says:

    If my daddy was famous and I was rich, I could definitely be a fashion designer. I wouldn’t necessarily be good at it, but when you have the money gargoyle hanging over your head, people tend to give you what you want, even if they think you suck.

  16. Silent Star says:

    Parents/families help each other out in every field of work, so I’m not philosophically against nepotism. If my kids grew up to show interest in my field, I would definitely help them if they wanted me to. Maybe this is a cultural thing that comes more naturally in less individualistic cultures.

    What I am against is helping ungrateful and talentless nepo babies by building ready-made careers for them. The least they could do with the opportunities handed to them is be the best they can possibly be.

  17. Krystal says:

    Bring back the luscious rose scents!