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'I'm overwhelmed': Stella McCartney opens up on OBE honour at new collection preview

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In an Upper East Side mansion, several models gathered around a man playing Lady Gaga on the piano while others posed for artists in a stunning salon, played Scrabble in the library or simply sipped champagne as they admired an ice sculpture of a unicorn. In the typically quirky fashion that we have come to know and love, Stella McCartney unveiled her latest collection, pre-Autumn 13, on Tuesday evening in the Big Apple. And the line was clearly influenced by the 70s, featuring colour-blocked velvet dresses, silk striped jumpsuits and feathered floral jacquard jackets.

The guests, including Stella's father Paul's wife Nancy Shevell and her son Arlen, former Sex and the City star Kim Cattrall, Alec Baldwin and Anna Wintour, were all seen ooh-ing and ahh-ing over the gorgeous new wares. Many of the attendees also took the time to congratulate the designer on her recent OBE honour. "I'm a little overwhelmed by it – I feel a little embarrassed, if I'm honest," she revealed. "Whenever I get any kind of accolade, I feel humbled by it. But I feel lucky and privileged and I'm very happy." Stella also hinted at a greater participation in London's fashion week. Despite regularly showing in Paris, the designer took the pre-Autumn 13 line to New York City and last year she took a break from the Paris runway to show in London.

While she is keeping quiet about her specific plans for her highly-anticipated shows, she suggested that there may be some change. "There's a side of me that loves showing in Paris, and another side that loves showing in London," she said. And then tonight we're in New York… I like having the freedom to express the brand, and when it feels right, to be in different parts of the world. "I don't think it's so much about those two shows anymore. I put as much effort and work into these presentations to be honest. It's not so strict anymore." Asked to pick her favourite piece from the collection, Stella was unable to decide. "There are just so many different emotions in this collection, so many pieces I desire," she said.

"I love the more cocktail-y day looks, like that peacock-blue coat with the feather jacquard, and then the humour and sweetness of the big fluffy teddy bear sweater. I'm obsessed with the red coat. And the tortoiseshell shoes. I want them," she laughed. Meanwhile, it was also revealed that Stella is set to launch her first collection of optical eyewear in March. The line will consist of five styles and draw inspiration from her signature androgynous aesthetic. "Optical is more and more part of fashion," Stella told WWD of her new venture. "If you actually take a moment to look around, you are surrounded by optical both as a necessity and a statement. It is exciting because it says something new, all ages express themselves through optical." Prices will range from £149 to £157, and will be available from high-end retailers and opticians.

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