TOP fashion designer Stella McCartney has a booming business, a loving husband and four healthy kids — but she still has worries like everyone else.And there’s one thing she can’t stop fretting about — the fear she is headed for the same fate as her tragic mum Linda, who died of breast cancer almost 15 years ago.
Sir Paul McCartney’s daughter — who designed the Team GB kits for London 2012 — said: “It’s really hard because you think, ‘I’ve got to make sure I don’t get cancer for the sake of my kids, and I’m going to make sure my sister doesn’t get it for the sake of her kids’.”
Linda was diagnosed with breast cancer aged 53 and died three years later. And as Stella nears her 41st birthday, she has been getting more cancer tests as she is petrified of leaving her children alone.
She added: “I try to be really preventative and get regular check-ups. I’m not OK with death. But I’m a real believer in trying to live in the moment.”
Stella wells up when she talks of how her vegetarian, animal rights activist mother is still her biggest fashion influence.
She has just launched her latest fragrance, L.I.L.Y. — named after the nickname her ex-Beatle dad Paul gave to her mum, which stood for “Linda I Love You”. It’s also a tribute to spring — the season in which her mum died in 1998.
Stella tells the September issue of US Harper’s Bazaar: “That was my dad’s nickname for my mum and I always knew I wanted to create a fragrance called Lily.
“Lily of the valley was a flower my mum loved and it’s also one that I love. I love that it represents spring, I love the way it looks, I love everything about it.
“I love that it blooms, only fleetingly, in spring.
“My mum’s death is definitely the most difficult thing in the world I’ve ever had to encounter.
“It’s with me every day, the thought of how one deals with all of the repercussions. I’m aware that it’s part of everything I do, in a good way and a bad way.
“I have huge admiration for my mum. I think that I’m keeping alive some of the things she believed in and elaborating on that.
“In the coolest sense, she was totally unaffected and that’s a big part of my underlying ethos.
“My mum cut her own hair and she never put product in it. She never wore make-up.”
Stella was named after both of her mum’s grandmothers. At her birth, Paul prayed that she would be born “on the wings of an angel” and he and Linda would later call their group Wings in her honour.
Her mum’s glam rock wardrobe inspired Stella’s love of fashion.
But one of her greatest regrets is that Linda didn’t live to see her successes, especially the Team GB kits that are now so familiar to the nation.
Stella, who married brand consultant Alasdhair Willis nine years ago in an updated version of Linda’s 1969 wedding dress, said: “She saw my first couple of shows, so I have to be glad that she saw me having a job and looking like I was on the right track. But she didn’t meet my husband or my kids and they didn’t get to meet her.”
Stella strives to give her kids — sons Miller, seven, Beckett, four, and daughters Bailey Linda, six, and two-year-old Reiley — as normal an upbringing as possible while juggling her global business.
She cooks their meals and makes time to drive them to school and tell them bedtime stories, just like her mum did for her.
Stella was said to be unable to stand the sight of her dad’s second wife Heather Mills, who he wed four years after Linda’s death.
But it seems she gets along much better with his third wife, American Nancy Shevell. Stella even designed the replica Wallis Simpson wedding dress Nancy wore for her marriage to Paul last October.
Stella, her 70-year-old dad and Nancy were most recently spotted together cheering on the British women’s cycling team as they scored gold at London 2012.
But whatever milestones Stella hits in her career, she says just one thing is on her mind — one of her mum’s old mottos.
She said: “My mum used to always say, ‘Health is wealth.’
“And for me, I can’t think of anything more important or more true.”