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London Fashion Week: Stella ditches catwalk models

Stella McCartney with synchronised swimmers wearing costumes which are part of her new sportswear collection. Picture: Getty Images

Stella McCartney with synchronised swimmers wearing costumes which are part of her new sportswear collection. Picture: Getty Images

  • by RUTH WALKER
 

ON THE final day of London Fashion Week Stella McCartney delivered a showstopping presentation of her sportswear collection for Adidas, featuring synchronised swimmers in giant water tanks, sweating cyclists and aerial gymnasts spinning from silk ropes that hung from the ceiling of the venue in Bloomsbury.

It was a runway in the most literal sense of the word.

The focus was firmly on the clothes as a working workout wardrobe – sweatshirts, leggings, shorts and hooded jackets in grey, navy, yellow and orange; strong structural shapes, some with graphic daisy prints; and swimwear with cut-out panels at the waist – and were put through their paces by athletes rather than exotic-looking models, and with the likes of Olympic gymnast Louis Smith in the front row instead of celebrity stylistas.

Another highlight of day five was Simone Rocha’s sheep, gorse, moss and rock-themed collection, that took its inspiration from a Connemara wedding. The models all wore messy mohawk updos, with clothes that featured wet-look lace, embroidered plastic, heavy oversized cotton and ever so delicate tulle, dotted with gems.

Rocha clearly revels in the contrasts. “It’s hard, wet, dark, ugly, masculine, tailored, embellished and pearled,” she stated in the show notes. “Think of the sea, think of you and me.”

Some of the pieces – a deep green, masculine-shaped leather coat for instance – were lustworthy and wearable; others – the tulle-wrapped mummy brides who closed the show – perhaps less so.

But this was never less than a beautiful, poetic collection that demonstrated a true fashion innovator unafraid to experiment with shapes and tailoring.

 

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