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LONDON (Reuters) - Fashion celebrities were enthralled with British designer Stella McCartney's mixture of magic and illusion, as she eschewed a formal catwalk show for a Matrix-style acrobatic display of models jumping from table to table and dancing on chairs.
Saturday marked McCartney's return to London Fashion Week for the Autumn/Winter 2012 season, and luminaries including Rihanna, Kate Moss, and American Vogue editor Anna Wintour were on hand to offer their accolades.
"It was fab," Rihanna said, wearing a backless dark green dress and a golden necklace with her hair dyed blonde to match.
Stella McCartney's collection featured marbled patterns and bright peacock colours of deep blue, turquoise and orange, along with floral prints and gathered puffy skirts.
"It's London, it's Britain. It's celebrating everything that is bold and irreverent about being a British brand," McCartney told Reuters about her inspiration for the collection.
She said the collection was much funkier than what she had done for the Olympics. "This is evening wear - a lot different from the Olympics," she said.
McCartney's night started seemingly traditional with a jazz band playing American standards in an elegant Mayfair hall decorated with globe lamps.
About 140 guests dined with McCartney on a vegetarian menu including farmhouse duck egg with Perigord black truffle, Saffron risotto, and Hyde Park sweet chestnut and Jerusalem artichoke veloute.
A packed house of journalists watched from a balcony overlooking the main dining area until the plates were cleared away for a quick magic show by Dutch illusionist Hans Klok.
Fashion editor Alexa Chung was drafted into the show, and levitated on a series of swords which were peeled away one by one until only one remained.
After what seemed to be the evening's highlight, models who had been seeded among guests leapt up and spontaneously danced on tables and on the floor with ballet lifts and twirls.
Models continued to come out of the woodwork, tiptoeing across the room over chairs as Rihanna clapped and swayed to the music.
Later, the floor opened up to dancing as Chung, wearing a black McCartney gown, and Descendants star Shailene Woodley stayed on with McCartney to dance the night away.
Despite austere times, McCartney's collection opted for opulence and excitement, pairing a British sense of humour with a "carry on" spirit.
Reporting By Ethan Bilby; editing by Tim Pearce