Hunter Original, best known for its rubber wellington boots, showed it could do glamour with a swimming pool-themed show that drew Paul and Stella McCartney to its front row. Marchesa, the New York-based brand synonymous with red carpet style, brought its sumptuous dresses to London for the first time. Emilia Wickstead did pared-down elegance with a collection of modern ball gowns, while Orla Kiely delighted with a cheerful retro vibe.
Among the highlights:
Rubber boots and glamour don't generally mix — but they do at London Fashion Week.
The brand, which has only recently branched out into clothing, packed in the crowds with a fun and slick display of sporty casualwear at a disused indoor pool. There was no swimming, but a giant video backdrop simulating turquoise waters, complete with floating submarines and cartoon sharks, made up for it.
The show was held up for about half an hour by the VIPs - celebrity father-and-daughter duo Paul and Stella McCartney arrived late, causing a stir as they squeezed in the front row next to pop star Rita Ora and Vogue editor Anna Wintour. The brand is headed by Stella McCartney's husband Alasdhair Willis.
Boots, of course, featured prominently. Signature wellies, worn by both male and female models, came with buckles and were printed in eye-catching colour blocks. There were also flat sandals and army boots, some with chunky platform heels.
Models sported rain jackets, parkas, shorts and culottes - many in low-key military greens and browns, though outfits in bright turquoise, lavender and graphic stripes provided a burst of colour and style.
The McCartneys didn't draw attention to themselves, probably not wishing to upstage the show. The former Beatle appeared cheerful, posing with his daughter and smiling mischievously for the cameras.
Did he like the show? "Terrific," he said with a grin, before being whisked away by his security guards.
Forget less is more. London's fashionistas, usually all for cool and edgy chic, indulged in Marchesa's elaborate, luxuriously detailed creations as the U.S. brand made its London debut to mark its 10th anniversary.
Designers Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig showed off cocktail dresses and floor-sweeping gowns in their signature feminine style. There were sheer black numbers with pink floral embellishments, romantic slip dresses, sensual fringe skirts, and miles of lace, silk and tulle. The collection featured more than a touch of Bohemian chic too, with the off-shoulder necklines, puffed up sleeves and tier detailing.
An ethereal, bridal-like tulle ball gown that looked like a cloud of candy floss floating down the catwalk had guests swooning, while the closing number, a sheer confection studded with dozens of realistic looking flowers and topped with a floral crown, wouldn't look out of place in A Midsummer Night's Dream.
For her new spring and summer collection, Wickstead has created elegant, understated ball gowns fit for a modern princess.
The young designer, who boasts a glitzy client list including the Duchess of Cambridge and Hollywood actress Diane Kruger, is known for her feminine and prim evening wear. It's little wonder she is so popular. Many of the gowns on display were showstoppers, with unfussy lines and minimal detail that let the cut and the block colours - sunshine yellow, tangerine, nude and orange sorbet - speak for themselves.
Wickstead said she took inspiration from the "glitzy '80s," but there's little sign of the excesses from that decade in the collection. One model floated down the dramatic staircase in a canary yellow full skirt, made casual by its pockets and a simple white sleeveless top. There were voluminous evening gowns, made cool with subtle nautical stripes, and shimmering silver column dresses that looked structural and clean.
Fashion week regulars Alexa Chung and Olivia Palermo were among those in the front row.
Orla Kiely's show was all about retro fun and flower power.
The designer, best known for her colorful leaf and branch graphic prints, showcased floral prints on almost everything: Smock dresses, wide-leg trousers, capri pants and even on the shoes. Outfits like a printed crop top and matching shorts, and tote bags featuring a single giant sunflower, had guests longing for a summer vacation.
The collection couldn't be more cheerful, with its palette of cornflower blue, lemon yellow and shades of pink. Models marched around, merry-go-round style, on a stage dotted with flower pots, and each "planted" an oversized plastic flower as they walked by.
Kiely's whimsical style is ever consistent, even down to the food offerings for guests - mini cupcakes, adorned with pastel flowers.