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Wellies maker Hunter makes a splash at debut London Fashion Week show

A model wears a design created by Hunter Original during London Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2014, at Ambika Gallery in central London, Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)

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A model wears a design created by Hunter Original during London Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2014, at Ambika Gallery in central London, Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)

LONDON - Watch out: The humble rubber rain boot has arrived with a big splash at the London fashion scene.

Hunter, best known for those sturdy, no-nonsense wellies seen on trendy young attendees of music festivals like Glastonbury, debuted its clothing range in a cavernous basement space set up to look like a dark forest, complete with a watery runway and realistic looking birch trees.

Models — both male and female — splashed down the catwalk in colorful raincoats and capes, shorts, belted trench coats and puffy winter jackets. Everyone, of course, sported Hunter boots that came in a range of colours and styles, including a heeled ankle-length version.

Not all the looks were outdoorsy, though. Some of the models wore the boots with bare legs, miniskirts and a dainty clutch bag. It all fit very well into the current trend for sporty chic.

Hunter had drummed up considerable publicity for the event, and its front row VIPs included Vogue editor Anna Wintour, singer Jessie J, as well as designer Stella McCartney, who had previously shown her own collection of sportswear at London Fashion Week. McCartney's husband, Alasdhair Willis, was creative director of the Hunter show.

The brand is the latest to join other British labels, most notably Burberry, in playing on their traditional heritage and combining that with trendy design. Like Burberry, Hunter has a venerable history: The boots were first made in 1856, worn in flooded trenches during WWI, and supplied to Britain's royalty.

Just to make sure it leaves an impression on guests, the show closed with a little magic performance and a shower of playing cards. It was a cool touch, and entertaining to boot.

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Follow Sylvia Hui at http://www.Twitter.com/sylviahui

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