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Stella McCartney Hosts Black-Tie Event in London

Swing band, a magician and dancers performed at the fete to showcase the designer's evening wear capsule collection.

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Rihanna and Stella McCartney

Photo By Tim Jenkins

LONDON — Stella McCartney upped the London Fashion Week ante on Saturday night, hosting a celebrity-studded, action-packed extravaganza.

“Hello Drivers,” squealed the designer as Minnie and her sister Kate Driver nearly walked right past her. “Nobody recognizes me because I’m wearing so much makeup,” said McCartney, who hosted the black-tie event at One Mayfair, a former church built in the early 19th century. The event was meant to mark the 2012 London Olympics: McCartney is creative director for Adidas Team GB and has designed all of the uniforms for Britain’s athletes, as well as items for local 2012 Olympics fans.

Guests included Kate Moss, Rihanna, Mario Testino, Amber Valletta, Shalom Harlow, singer Alison Mosshart, Zaha Hadid, actress Shailene Woodley, Twiggy, Simon and Yasmin Le Bon, Bianca Jagger, Dionne Bromfield and Anya Rubik.

Alexa Chung took part in a daredevil magic act —part of an after-dinner performance by the Dutch illusionist Hans Klok and his sexy female assistant. The model and TV presenter went into an hypnotic trance, and was laid flat atop a lineup of swords.

“It didn’t hurt then, but it hurts now,” Chung related afterwards. “Before the show, I had two sessions of hypnotism training.”

Rihanna was impressed. “I loved it,” she enthused as she hugged Moss and Testino. The singer, who is in London for a week filming a fashion-themed show aimed at youths with Sky TV, said she’s not working all the time. “Shop, eat, music — that’s what I’m doing in London. Oh, and eating lots of Jamaican food, too,” she added.

After the magic, there was a fashion performance where models — including Harlow, Valletta, Yasmin Le Bon, Lucie de la Falaise and Anouck Lepère — danced and formed tableaux in the center of the room. It was all choreographed by Blanca Li.

The capsule winter eveningwear collection, which goes on sale in July, featured bright silk dresses with swirling marbled prints, skinny, figure-hugging two-tone gowns fit for athletic figures and lace dresses in bright cobalt blue.

Earlier in the evening, Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Orchestra played as guests downed Champagne. “I’m picking the moss and twigs out of my hair —reentering the world after having spent so many years in the woods,” said Harlow. “Seriously, tonight is my coming out time,” said the model, who spent the past few years between Big Sur, Calif., and British Columbia studying the healing arts. She’d like to pursue projects that fuse fashion and the environment, and might put her toe back into acting.

Mosshart, lead vocalist of The Kills, made no apologies for her black shirt and pants at the formal event. “I don’t even own a dress,” she said. “And no one bothers to send me a dress because they know I wouldn’t wear it.”

Meanwhile, Hadid showed off her latest fashion purchase: A lace cape from Rei Kawakubo’s White Drama collection for Comme des Garçons. “I thought, ‘When am I going to wear a white cape?’ And here I am,” she said.

Woodley, who starred in “The Descendants,” revealed that her preferred sport isn’t yet an Olympic event. “I’m a professional tree climber,” she beamed. And the best species to clamber up? “Oak trees are good,” she nodded.

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