Bohemian luxe at Matthew Williamson as Cara Delevingne hits the catwalk in showstopping beads, feathers and bold Bombay brights
17:20 GMT, 16 September 2012
Model of the moment Cara Delevingne opened Matthew Williamson's 15th anniversary show in style this afternoon, emerging onto the catwalk in the breathtaking show space with its killer panoramic view over London.
The backdrop from the eighth floor of an airy building in the City of London took in St Paul's cathedral, the Tate Modern and the Millenium bridge complete with tiny people meandering across – like a scene from a modern-day Lowry.
Above the catwalk hung garlands of colourful flowers and strings of lightbulbs, giving the contemporary space the warm, bustling feel of an Indian market place – you could almost smell the jasmine and spices in the air.
Showstopper: Cara Delevingne opened the show wearing silk shorts and a dip-dyed indigo jacket
Inspired: Cara Delevingne wore a silk dress printed with a stylised scene from Kerala taken by Matthew Williamson
Glamour: Evening dresses were super luxe
The collection was as covetable, and as colourful, as one would expect from Williamson – it really felt like celebration of the past 15 years.
His first collection – 1997's Electric Angels, when Kate Moss, Jade Jagger and Helena Christensen walked the runway – was reflected in today's show, which saw the designer go back to his roots to rediscover his love of India.
Inspiration for that cornucopia of colour came courtesy of the Holi Festival – an Indian street party where revellers throw brightly coloured powder over one another – and which provided Williamson with the hypercolourful, playful vibe that runs through his work like a seam.
Bright: Patterned jacquard was a strong theme in the show, as well as the bright colours Matthew Williamson has made his own
The Festival of Colour provided inspiration for splashes of bright blue, violet and turquoise to meet in vibrant fabric
Colours were inspired by the Indian Holi street festival, which sees revellers throw brightly coloured powder over one another
Stunning space: The airy Cannon St building location made for the perfect show venue – with floral garlands and strings of bare bulbs lending a market vibe to the room
Backdrop: The show took place in the airy Cannon Place building in EC4, with panoramic views of London
There was a real sense of the exotic in the beautiful hot pink merged with turquoise
on cigarette pants and jackets, the meticulous rainbow dip-dye in
violet, magenta and yellow and the clashing pink, orange and red bands on jacquard jackets and shorts.
The intricate design of the Hamsa hand, so culturally important in India as a symbol of protection, was screenprinted onto chiffon blouses, while epic landscapes of Kerala and Tibet, taken from Williamson's own snaps, were printed on to silk shorts, pants and shifts.
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There were silk and chiffon gowns in hot pink, deep indigo or a pale jade trimmed with minute golden beads, silk pants, shorts, and vivid jacquard dresses and jackets embellished with hundreds of glittering beads, mirrors and crystals.
Shoes, for the first time, were his own – after collaborating with Manolo Blahnik, Charlotte Olympia and Laurence Dacads, this season Matthew Williamson has launched his own collection – a 12-piece, Italian-manufactured line designed in partnership with new talent Joanne Stoker.
Think platform soles and an oh-so-high heel with sculptural embellishment, as well as leather flats in turmeric yellow, ochre and green.
Cara Delevingne showcased beaded shoes from the new Williamson line, while RIGHT, a silk blouse provided a neutral foil for the bright landscape prints, inspired by U.S. artist Shane McAdams
Explosion of colour: Barely a hue went unrepresented at the show
Lust haves: Jacquard hot pants, a leather jacket with vibrant trimmed sleeves and those beaded sandals
Alongside Poppy Delevingne, in the house to support her lil' sis, the FROW featured chairman of the BFC, Harold Tillman, as well as fashion's favourite girl-next-door, Olivia Palermo, and D&G model David Gandy.
Gandy, who is sitting on the BFC's menswear council this year, had flown in from a D&G shoot in Capri to watch model girlfriend Sarah Ann Macklin walk in the show – and assured us his tan was all real ('no Fake Bake here!') as he deemed the show a hit.
'It's not really my area of expertise – I don't know what all the things are called,' he mused, miming the hemline of a dress. 'But I liked all the colour, and the green gown with the beading.'
Gandy, star of D&G's Light Blue campaign divulged to us the exclusive nugget that his abs will indeed be on show in the forthcoming ad ('though it's getting harder as I get older,' he says modestly) – but the rest of the details will remain a mystery.
'It's Capri, it's Dolce – you can guess the rest,' he said.
Accessorise all areas: Williamson chose this 15th anniversary year to unveil his first ever collection of shoes
Getting the blues: Williamson's trademark bright colours; RIGHT Beading, mirrors and intricate embroidery captured the essence of India
The man of the moment: Matthew Williamson comes to take a bow at the end of the show
Supporting role: David Gandy arrives to watch his girlfriend Sarah Ann Macklin walk in the Williamson show, while RIGHT Poppy Delevingne comes to support her sister Cara
Front row: Poppy Delevingne, Olivia Palermo and Jade Williams at Matthew Williamson
BEHIND THE SCENES: THE HAIR, THE MAKE UP
Make up came courtesy of Maria Comparetto for Benefit Cosmetics, who told us backstage before the show that she planned to create a dewy, fresh look for the girls.
'Matthew Williamson always likes his girls to look young, fresh and modern,' she said.
To achieve that, she and her team – along with Benefit's head make up artist Lisa Potter-Dixon – used plenty of moisturiser to really nourish and plump the skin, before applying Sunbeam highlighter as a primer – on cheekbones, temple and jawbone – to make the skin really dewy under the lights of the runway.
'Foundation was applied with a brush and buffed up to give a really great shine, then we used a new product in an apricot hue – Fine One One, not out until spring – on the apples of the cheeks.
Transformation: A make up artist performs her magic on Cara Delevingne
Maria assured me that it wasn't
entirely necessary to have the flawless complexion of a model still in
her teens to get the look either.
'The key is moisturiser, and Sunbeam,' she said.
The eyeliner was the standout element
- a kohl in espresso or black that was applied to the tear line and
blended down into the roots of the lashes, smudged slightly to give that
'The eyeliner warms up as the girl
wears it, meaning it's different on everyone – it really starts to
reflect part of each person that wears it,' she said. 'It's not at all harsh, it looks slept-in.'
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On the lips, Hula lip plump (the first lip plumper ever to reach the market) to take the colour out of the lips, followed by Hula lip gloss for sheen.
Eyebrows were brushed up with a tinted gel,
'It's beautiful, fresh, and really Bohemian,' Maria said. 'It's deconstructed, and enhances the natural beauty of the models.'
Cos Sakkas, the irrepressibly
cheerful stylist for Toni & Guy was in charge of hair, and here too
we saw a relaxed, deconstructed, youthful look – 'as though Matthew
Williamson's elegant wealthy woman had stepped onto a plane to India
with a sleek, perfect bun and centre parting, then as her trip went on,
bits came loose, she plaited the front,' Cos said.
'It's fresh, laidback.'
Preparations: Matthew Williamson doing his pre-show run through, sat with head make up artist, Maria Comparetto for Benefit Cosmetics