Stella McCartney's stratospheric success story has only a little to do with her fabulous connections. Born in 1971, she graduated from Central Saint Martins in 1995. Her final year collection was snapped up by the biggest names in retail (including Browns and Bergdorf Goodman) and a mere two years later her sharp-tailoring talents landed her the top job as creative director at Chloe.
Trouser suits, vintage-inspired dresses and jet-setting holidaywear are trademark Stella-style. Her designs are often also possessed of that rarity in the fashion world, an exuberant sense of humour (folk went bananas over her fruity vests and knickers).
In 2001 McCartney left Chloe and re-launched her own eponymous line, this time backed by the Gucci Group. The first Stella McCartney store opened in New York's meatpacking district in 2003, followed a year later by additional shops in London and Los Angeles. 2004 saw the girl with the golden touch honoured with a Designer of the Year award in London.
Like her late mother Linda, she is serious about animal rights and refuses to use leather or fur in any of her designs. She also received a Women of Courage Award for her work with cancer charities. Whether working on experimental projects (such as the collaboration with artist Gary Hume in 2002 to produce handmade T-shirts and dresses), designing costumes for Gwyneth Paltrow's action movie 'Sky Captain' (2004) or enjoying the mainstream success of her perfume, McCartney is forever working a new angle. Summer 2005 saw her latest project unveiled, a new collection of keep-fit wear designed in conjunction with Adidas, with a special collection for H&M launched later the same year.