02/19/2012 09:08 EST | Updated 04/20/2012 05:12 EDT

Shaggy, oversized 'Where the Wild Things Are'-style coats dominate at Mulberry

LONDON - They're big, dark and furry, but these fashion monsters are more stylish than scary.

Taking inspiration from the monsters in Maurice Sendak's children's book "Where the Wild Things Are," British luxury brand Mulberry sent models swathed in oversized, shaggy fur coats and gilets down the catwalk Sunday for its whimsical show at London Fashion Week.

"The rustic colours, furry textures and dark woody atmosphere (of the movie) felt like a natural fit for Mulberry but with a enchanted and childlike twist," Hill told The Associated Press in an email.

Creative director Emma Hill said she was inspired both by Sendak's beloved book and by Spike Jonze's movie adaptation — and the playful tone was set with a few roars on the soundtrack as the show began. Some of the cartoon owlish creatures even found their way onto a model's printed sweater, and at one point the catwalk was invaded by a particularly shaggy dog, dressed in a tiger-striped canine-sized sweater.

Overall, however, Hill kept things sophisticated and wearable.

That included thin leather belts cinched in loose outerwear, made in black rabbit fur or brown sheepskin and adorned with exaggerated fur trimmings at the shoulders. And beneath the thick layers of fur, wool and fleece, the silhouette was kept romantic and delicate: Ethereal silk and lace nightie dresses and pencil skirts clung to the body, emphasizing feminine movement.

One of the standout dresses featured the sheerest tie-dyed silk in ink blue and dark red, so that the colours looked almost as if they were tattooed onto the skin.

While the autumn/winter collection was mostly made up of a palette of blacks and earthy shades of brown, Hill provided plenty of textural and colour contrast in the beading, Aztec-inspired zigzag prints, and pops of fluorescent orange in a couple of dresses and on the wedge shoe-boots.

Mulberry is best-known for its sought-after leather handbags, and the accessories — finished in a huge range of material from tweed to ostrich to sparkly snake print — were certainly as much of a star as the clothes on the catwalk Sunday.

The brand launched Sunday a new bag design that it named after hit singing sensation Lana Del Rey, who attended Sunday's show at London's historic Claridges Hotel.

Other celebrities seen on the front row included singer U.K. rapper Tinie Tempah and New York socialite Olivia Palermo.



London Fashion Week: