She’s a world-famous fashion designer, whose sophisticated, sexy pieces are favored by the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow, Nicole Kidman and Kirsten Dunst. She also has a separate line for children under 12, as well as fragrance and skin-care products. This summer, she designed athletic apparel for the entire Great Britain team at the London Olympics. And, like her late mother, Linda, she’s a devout environmentalist and animal rights activist.

Oh yes. She also happens to be the daughter of rock royalty.

Not that Stella McCartney ever has been one to rest on the family laurels. She’s a self-made entrepreneur who, with dogged determination and an original fashion sensibility, has earned the respect of industry peers. Some 15 years ago, after McCartney was named creative director at Chloé in Paris, Karl Lagerfeld famously quipped, “Chloé should have taken a big name. They did, but in music, not fashion. Let’s hope she’s as gifted as her father.”

McCartney proved Lagerfeld wrong—and everyone else who doubted her potential to become a household name on her own. Her collections, which can be found in more than 50 countries, recently earned Brand of the Year at the 2012 Luxury Briefing Awards in London.

Boca residents will have an opportunity to see the brand in all its spring splendor Dec. 3 at Town Center at Boca Raton. McCartney is making a rare South Florida appearance to unveil her store within a store at Saks Fifth Avenue, where the mother of four will showcase her 2013 ready-to-wear collection.

“I think these days there are so many chic women all over the world, and they all appreciate beautiful, luxurious things,” says McCartney, whose collections also are available at Neiman Marcus inside Town Center. “I think the women in Florida are no different in that sense.”

In an exclusive interview with Boca Raton, the fashion icon recently touched on a variety of topics—including what it was like to grow up as the daughter of Paul McCartney.

Looking back at your early years in the industry, how do you think the criticism you faced as a 25-year-old with the last name McCartney shaped the way that you’ve approached your career?

I used to get so angry with the constant association with the name, and I think that anger fueled the spotlight more. It would have been so wrong to pretend it hasn’t done great things, opened many doors for me and given me that interesting outlook on life.

It’s just a pity that sometimes people judge you before you come into a room. But at this point, I know who I am—and I know where I am going. That’s all that matters.

I think when I was younger, I was a little bit more irreverent. I guess as you mature as a person, you just evolve and that inevitably has reflected on my work as a designer. I think it’s important to constantly push yourself, and I continuously try to do so.

For one thing, the brand has expanded into different categories now; not only do we have the main ready-to-wear collection, we have kids, lingerie, a performance line with adidas, a fragrance, and they all need to somehow relate to each other. We have evolved slowly but steadily.

I’m trying to live in the moment. We still have more to grow on and build on as a brand, and I’m looking forward to that.

You’ve spoken before about your mother’s influence on certain passions in your life. Are there specific recollections that you have of your mother in terms of her commitment to animal rights and environmentalism?

My mother taught me to be aware of my responsibilities and ethically conscious. I would like to think that this can be reflected in the way that I approach both business and life in general.

She was a strong woman in her own delicate way. She would have loved the products we’ve developed, and it’s a shame she never got to see them. I cherish all of the things she did when she was alive; she was incredibly brave. In my opinion, she influenced many people, but nobody recognized that until she died.

Your recent 2013 spring ready-to-wear collection is an arrangement of menswear for women and unique feminine silhouettes. What are you most proud of in this new line?

I love spring, it is one of my favorite seasons. It’s about enjoying the new beginning in a sense. This collection is really about innocence and inspiration; it’s about bringing light, laughter and a breeze and warmth into your wardrobe.

It is full of vibrant color and a lot of texture. There is also a lot of print and a play on textures and materials. Tailoring plays on the masculine, bringing in twists and turns in the lapel work, accompanying colors, folding materials, and inserting fringing in the back of a man’s tailored jacket...

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