An insider's guide to your favourite fashion brands The daughter of Beatle Paul McCartney and photographer Linda, this British designer's initial success was linked to her parents' fame. Born in 1972, McCartney was raised in London and educated at a state school in Sussex. When she was 15, her mother organised for her to work with French designer Christian Lacroix, sparking her interest in fashion. She also spent time learning the craft on Savile Row, an influence later reflected in her own collections. McCartney graduated in 1995 from London's Central St Martins College of Art and Design with a star-studded show that made headlines. She designed two collections then put her label on hold when she was chosen to succeed Karl Lagerfeld as head designer for French house Chloe in 1997. Given her young age, critics questioned whether she could fill his shoes and Lagerfeld himself dryly remarked that she was a mere 'T-shirt designer'. McCartney proved herself with her first collection, which included sexy silk trousers, midriff-baring tops and tight-fitted jeans paired with tunic tops, fake-fur coats and vests splashed with jewelled appliques. She was an immediate success and it was reported that sales went up 500 per cent. In April 2000, she renewed her contract with Chloe, amid reports that she turned down a position at Gucci because the brand would require her to work with leather. She left Chloe in 2001 and launched her own eponymous fashion collection in a joint venture with Gucci Group. In 2004, she was named designer of the year. She followed in Lagerfeld's footsteps again when she became the second designer to produce a one-off collection for the mass department store H&M last November. According to a recent report in The Guardian, McCartney has totted up losses of #15 million ($212 million) since she founded her label. The look: McCartney's clothes combine sharp tailoring with sexy femininity, and portray a career woman who is relaxed, confident and fashionable. She once said her clothes were inspired by the men's suits worn by her late mother. She never accentuates a woman's body shape, opting instead for loose cuts and men's tailoring details. Her signature designs include camisoles, soft-draped tops, big chunky knits and fitted trousers. Her palette is never extreme. For the current spring/summer season, she includes cool whites, pale blues and greys, and offers sporty pantsuits, oversized shirtdresses, and bustier dresses. For autumn, she features big cocoon cardigans with sloppy collars, printed jersey dresses and A-line smocks. Who wears it? McCartney's tailored looks are perfect for young Hollywood stars who want to look sexy, but be taken seriously. She dressed Madonna for her nuptials to Guy Ritchie six years ago. Other celebrity friends and fans include Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Hudson, Kate Moss and Liv Tyler. Making a statement: McCartney is an ardent animal rights supporter and refuses to use any animal products in her collections, making her a fashion activist. In 1998, she made a video for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Defining fashion moment: Her star-studded graduation show in 1995, which featured Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss, with her parents and former model Twiggy in the front row. London boutique Tokio bought her entire first collection. Fun facts: In March 1999, she showed her collection to the tune of Killer Queen, unaware that hunting fan Camilla Parker Bowles was in the front row. She once said the industry had made her neurotic about her weight. She's married to publisher Alasdhair Willis and had a son last year. What else can I buy? Last year, she launched a line with adidas that features high-end, chic sportswear for active women including gymwear, tenniswear and now skiwear. She also designs perfume, shoes and handbags. Where can I get it? Joyce Boutique, Queen's Road Central (tel: 2810 1120) and Lane Crawford, IFC Mall, Central (tel: 2118 3388).