Hunter Original Autumn Winter 2014 [Catwalking]
We were told to expect the unexpected - and that's exactly what we got when the Hunter Original show took place during London Fashion Week this afternoon. Dynamo magically disappearing, Suki Waterhouse showcasing heeled wellies and a forest on the catwalk - it was quite the spectacle, not to mention one of many firsts.
Because this is the first time Hunter Original has ever shown at London Fashion Week and the Autumn Winter 2014 collection is the first look at how Alasdhair Willis is reinvigorating the brand. Alasdhair (aka: Mr Stella McCartney) was signed up as Creative Director this time last year to bring a new vision and develop the footwear's British heritage and if today is anything to go by, it's about to get a whole lot cooler.
Anna Wintour, Stella McCartney, Mary McCartney and Laura Mvula on the FROW [Getty]
As well as much-loved wellies, Alasdhair is bringing outwear to the Hunter arena, inspired by 'expeditions into the final frontiers of the deep sea and outer space', according to the show notes on our seat. On the catwalk, this translated to neon-bright waterproof capes, rubber ponchos and gleaming metallic coats topped off with balaclavas perfect for sloshing through the current rainy weather. In fact, several FROWers - including Jessie J, Arizona Muse and Stella herself - got splashed with water as the models paraded down the water-covered catwalk in cool heeled Hunters.
But the finale was really worth getting wet for. Amid the towering silver birch trees and pitch-black back-drop, the model line-up gathered on the catwalk as Dynamo emerged to work his magic. Camera phones started flashing as the magician appeared to levitate then suddenly disappear. Then came a shower of playing cards in true wizard stylee. Bravo!
Dynamo closes the show [Getty]
After the show, we found the man behind it all. Alasdhair Willis was backstage amid a pack of journalists while his young children (Alasdhair and Stella have four kids together) darted between their father's legs - and ever the gent, he catered to both. Looking gorgeously dapper in a grey polo neck, Alasdhair greeted us with a warm hand-shake and asked, 'did you enjoy it?'. Yes, we did.
Grazia Daily: So tell us about the theatrical aspect of the show…
Alasdhair Willis: I didn't want to just do a runway show and Hunter is doing this for the first time in its 160-year history so I wanted to bring something different to it. I also wanted to show not only the clothes but the collaboration, in this case with Dynamo, to demonstrate what modern Hunter is going to be like.
Grazia Daily: And what is modern Hunter going to be like?
Alasdhair Willis: I've restructured the architecture of the brand so Hunter Original is the start of a roll-out. It's for a younger customer and of course we know our history with festivals so it's much more playful, fun and easy. Hunter Field is launching in Spring Summer 2015 and that's much more technical so takes care of our more traditional customer.
Alasdhair is taking Hunter into a new stratosphere [Grazia_Live Instagram]
Grazia Daily: And why did you want Dynamo involved?
Alasdhair Willis: I met him at an event last year and was blown away by the guy, not only his talents as a magician but also as a human being. He represents what is very good about this country. I want Hunter to go back to that sense of pioneering whether it's a young girl who's at a festival or it's someone who is doing something farther afield - and Dynamo represents that by creating his own magic.
Grazia Daily: Suki Waterhouse walked in the show - is she the ultimate Hunter girl?
Alasdhair Willis: Totally. I wanted someone in the show that people would recognise as that sort of girl who goes to festivals and has fun.
Grazia Daily: What were the challenges you faced?
Alasdhair Willis: It was putting a fashion show and a magic show in one and creating the first ever Hunter show so there were a lot of challenges, but I won't list them all because we'd be here all night! There were quite a few...
Grazia Daily: Well, it paid off. And did your wife give you any advice?
Alasdhair Willis: Yep, trust your instinct.
Grazia Daily: And now it's time to celebrate?
Alasdhair Willis: I'm going to have a drink for sure.
And a well deserved one too! See the Hunter Original AW14 collection in the gallery below...