McCartney unveiled her Adidas Team GB kit for the London 2012 Olympics this morning in a show at the Tower of London.
"I felt quite emotional watching it," McCartney told us after the show. "I've been working on this for two years now. I felt so proud of the athletes more than anything and it really felt as if, 'woah, this is actually happening now'. It's really exciting and the whole thing is happening in our city!"
The collection was modelled by over 30 athletes - from basketball players and footballers to swimmers and Paralympic sprinters. McCartney - who was there in person to present the kit - took her inspiration from the Union Jack flag, which adorned each look. Sequinned variations covered leotards, while printed versions came on T-shirts and jackets. It was patriotic, exciting, fantastically uplifting and made us very proud to call London our home.
"I know I'm biased, but it really is one of the most iconic flags," said McCartney of the design. "Working on the kit was, a lot of the time, not about being a fashion designer - it was about creating something for the nation and the Union Jack seemed like the right place to start. I was also aware of the fact that it's something that might be overused in the build-up to the Olympics, in taxis, on cushions and mugs, so I wanted to do something different with it - but that was still respectful of its beauty. Actually, the colours of the Union Jack are similar to a lot of other flags and the athletes really wanted to feel identifiable as Team GB, so I just used different colours to say the same thing."
For McCartney, who has collaborated with Adidas since 2004, working with the athletes was her favourite element of the project.
"Having the opportunity to work with these incredible human-beings was just amazing," she said. "And the challenges of some of the restrictions of creating this type of sportswear were really exciting too. For example, with gymnastics you're very much judged according to personal taste. The gymnasts would say to me, 'it would be better if the lines were straight - if I wobble, I don't want my clothes to look like I am.' So, I was mindful of things like that."
Here are some looks from the collection: