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"You're such a grown-up girl now, darling," said Mario Testino to Emma Watson as he slipped into the front-row seat next to Burberry's newest poster girl — and Brown freshman — before the brand's punchy, trench-centric show on Tuesday night.
Burberry, which came back home this season to mark the 25th anniversary of London Fashion Week, drew the sort of marquee names the city hasn't seen since Giorgio Armani blew into town to show Emporio Armani three years ago. Front-row guests included Gwyneth Paltrow, Liv Tyler, Victoria Beckham, Freida Pinto, Dev Patel, Mary-Kate Olsen, David Walliams, Samantha Cameron and Agyness Deyn.
"It feels like the Academy Awards," said Natalie Massenet. "There's a red carpet and everything." Some of the Americans — including Stephanie Solomon, vice president and fashion director of Bloomingdale's — swooped into town just for the show, which was held at the Chelsea College of Art and Design and for the after party, held at Burberry's new headquarters nearby.
"I promised myself I wasn't going to travel during term-time, but I really wanted to be here, so I just got on the plane — and I'm leaving tomorrow," said Watson, adding she has some "really nice" college roommates, but isn't sure yet what her major will be.
Paltrow said she was at the show to cheer on Christopher Bailey, Burberry's creative director, and to give her city's fashion week a boost. "London's my hometown — during the school year at least," she said. "I feel like I've gotta give it some support."
Beckham said she's been bouncing back and forth across the Atlantic in the name of fashion and family. "I had my presentation in New York, and then went back home to check on David and the kids. Then I flew over here to go to the British Vogue dinner last night."
"It was beautiful," said Paltrow, who rushed backstage to congratulate Bailey after the show. "There was a lot I could totally see myself wearing," said Pinto. "Especially all the pastels." Olsen praised Bailey's lightness of touch — and his verve. "I love that he shows so much enthusiasm. That's what it's all about," she said.