“My son is obsessed with superheroes, so I’m like, Okay, I’m going to create my own superhero,” says McCartney, recounting the idea for a top that is sold with a set of colored markers so kids can add their own scribbles. “I’d take it home and I’d be like, ‘Do you approve of our superhero?’ And he loved it. So I thought, I’ve kind of had a sign-off on that.”
Judging by her demeanor on the set, McCartney, despite cutting a statuesque figure in a pair of her own high-waisted jeans, a dusky pink sweater and spiky heels, has an easy, relaxed manner with kids. When Alexander, a cutie with a mop of dirty-blond curls, hoists a turtle above his head, McCartney nudges him to be more cautious. “Supercareful with him,” she says. “Don’t drop the turtle.” And between shots, while the newbie model allows a giant hairy spider to climb up his arm, she conducts an ad hoc focus group: “Alex, do you like what you’re wearing?” she inquires sweetly. “Yeah? That was the right answer.”
McCartney has logged enough years in the mothering trenches to know that a photo shoot, even one stocked with a veritable petting zoo, can’t hold the attention of feisty kids indefinitely. As little Kinte starts to squirm under the hot lights, McCartney is nonplussed. “He’s not going to get ungrumpy in this environment,” she says, slipping seamlessly into mom mode. “He needs to leave this studio and go outside.”
McCartney says she was determined to book miniature civilians rather than polished child models for the campaign. “Perfect little kids are not really very me,” she says. “I wanted to have a bit of realness.” And she has a similarly no-nonsense approach to the collection. “When you’re talking about this kind of accessibility and children,” she says, “it’s really important that you feel comfortable throwing the lot of it in the washing machine and not being too precious with it.”
To that end, while there are tulle tutus and a silk dress embroidered with tiny flowers, there are also basics, including smart navy peacoats, organic cotton T-shirts and high-top sneakers. “Nothing is really matching, which is very much what I do,” she notes. “And a lot of the designs just get better with age.” Still, McCartney has worked in plenty of the luxe elements that have won her own line loyal fans. Some pieces have even been shrunk down from her past women’s collections, such as a sweaterdress knit with an intarsia leopard design and a pretty plum-colored wool princess coat with a pleated skirt.