And your values. A pioneering animal-rights activist in a fur-obsessed profession, McCartney is far from shy about “sharing information.” Years ago, she famously sent out a video depicting fur-trade atrocities to her designing peers to the clear annoyance of some; one, she recalls, even told her to “shove it up my a--.” She praises Ralph Lauren as a designer who doesn’t do fur, but she struggles to come up with another such kindred spirit within the fashion ranks. “Ralph rocks!” she shouts out with a smile, and then stops to agree with her own proclamation. “He does, though, anyway. He’s reached a certain level.”
The fact that so few designers have seen the humane light astounds her, even making her at times “ashamed” of her profession. Asked how she would react if her children grew up feeling differently, she says she’ll throw them a bone. “Of course I’ve thought about if they wanted to eat meat, and you have to just let them do it,” notes the devoted vegetarian. “My parents were always like, ‘If you want to, you can.’ I think a lot of it is about being educated and having information and the reasons for not eating meat.” But if one chose to slip into a fur? “I can’t imagine my kids wanting to wear fur. I just can’t imagine them being that mean and horrible and evil.” And though she delivers the line with a slight laugh, one gets the distinct impression it’s no joke.
McCartney’s passions seem rooted in something other than vanity—her family (the baby due in November makes number three, sibling to brother Miller, two, and sister Bailey, eight months), her company, animals, protecting her privacy and sharing whatever personal information she chooses on her terms. Today, despite suggestions that this would be a guarded interview, those terms are fairly liberal. (The non-negotiable exception: Sir Paul’s second marriage.) The shoot over, McCartney has slipped into a cropped navy jumpsuit roomy enough for an onlooker to wonder is she or isn’t she, and shields her already freckled face under a straw hat. She looks adorably utilitarian, like any well-heeled young Hamptons matron who might drop by the fruit stand on the way home to the kids. She suggests lunching in Amagansett Square, a short scoot away from the Pollock House where, it turns out, various family members do yoga, and she knows just where to grab a bite. She orders “a number six—with no chicken” and heads for one of the picnic tables outside.
“I’ve been coming here my whole life,” McCartney says. Every August Paul and Linda McCartney would transplant their brood of four children to Scotland and East Hampton for two weeks each. (On holiday and at home, Linda, a well-known professional photographer, frequently turned her camera on her own, building a wonderful archive of snapshots, including those featured in this story, that reveals the deep family intimacy.) East Hampton remains a retreat for “the American half” of McCartney’s family, a group loaded with cousins who, while growing up, at first played and then partied together here and are still close today. As a girl McCartney loved the beach parties with kegs and going to the Talkhouse, where “they’d have Muddy Waters and amazing people play, and you’d just go in.” And, like countless long-term Hamptonites, she recalls resenting the arrivistes: “One summer you had to pay to get in, and there were queues, and we were just devastated.” Once at a party, when a boy asked McCartney to dance, she declined and then felt as if she had made a terrible faux pas. “He was actually asking me for a dance, whereas in England guys would be like, ‘Do you wanna dance?’ and it was more casual. Here it was posher.”