LONDON -- After days of runways showcasing skinny models in high heels, London Fashion Week switched gears and took to the gym for a spot of spinning and synchronized swimming.
British designer Stella McCartney unveiled her latest women's sportswear collection for Adidas in a gym setting. Her models didn't pose or strut down a catwalk -- instead, they were busy sweating away on the treadmill or on cycling machines.
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McCartney, who showcases her main womenswear collection in Paris, has been designing high-performance sports gear for Adidas since 2005. Her brand got a big boost in international recognition last year when she won plaudits for her Union Jack-inspired designs for Britain's home team at the 2012 London Olympics.
"Some people just wear black on black, put their head down and get on with their sport and then get changed," she told The Associated Press. "To me this is a celebration of who you are when you're working out, and not sacrificing in any way your style."
McCartney's models wore cropped sweatshirts, stretch bodysuits and daisy print shorts in bright yellow, aqua and tropical lime as they danced, cycled and performed aerial yoga -- a combination of gymnastics and yoga in which participants work out while hanging from stretchy fabric.
A team of four synchronized swimmers sporting black bathing suits with side cutouts even put on a performance in a small swimming tank.
"I love it. They are amazing. It's not the kind of thing you see at London Fashion Week is it?" McCartney said.
It wasn't. McCartney's presentation came on the final day of the style event, which featured some five dozen catwalk shows from designers including Burberry Prorsum, Tom Ford, Vivienne Westwood, Christopher Kane and Julien Macdonald.
McCartney said she relished the challenges of working with high-technology fabrics and of balancing style with maximum function for athletes.
"I love the limitations," she said. "It's a really exciting part of the process for me."
Sylvia Hui can be reached http://twitter.com/sylviahui