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Why Stella McCartney (Almost) Resented Having a Famous Father

04/05/2012 at 10:30 AM ET

Stella McCartney
Courtesy Craig McDean for Interview Magazine

Her dresses are seen on tons of celebrities; she’s best friends with stars like Gwyneth Paltrow and Liv Tyler. And Stella McCartney says it’s not because of her last name.

“I find it interesting now to think about,” she tells Style.com editor Tim Blanks in Interview magazine. “I probably didn’t have permission to be a fashion designer because I had a famous set of parents, even though I’d done the exact same training as every other fashion designer I’d known.”

Because of that, McCartney says she felt “defensive” about securing her place in the fashion world. “I’d had a lot of my life before I became a public fashion designer. I mean, imagine … everyone knows who your mom and dad are, and they know something about you and you don’t really know anything about them or who they are,” she explains. “You sort of want to go up to them and say, ‘Hi! Who’s your mom and dad?’”

The designer contends that she never used her name to get anywhere — but didn’t shy away from it, either. “I was just kind of quietly up-front about it,” she shares. “My first show, I used famous models, and my thinking about that was other people in my situation would probably use those models if they knew them, so why would I go out of my way not to use them?”

Ultimately, she booked Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss and Yasmin Le Bon, though “I did think maybe I should not do that,” she admits. “But in the end I decided that’s a bit strange — I’m not doing something I would naturally do because I’m worried that some people are going to make a negative judgement about me. So I didn’t knowingly promote [my last name], but at the same time I did try to react to it in a realistic way, which is that sometimes it helped, and sometimes it didn’t.”

However, McCartney does share something with her famous father: a disdain for reviews. When asked if she reads her own, the designer jokes, “Sometimes. I prefer them if they’re good.”

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