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Walking on Water

Online retailer NET-A-PORTER throws a very real-world spectacle. We report from the idyllic Hamilton Island.

Walking on Water

Online retailer NET-A-PORTER throws a very real-world spectacle. Lauren Tan reports from the idyllic Hamilton Island
It's thick in the middle of the Audi Hamilton Island Race Week (AHIRW) — only the largest international offshore regatta in the southern hemisphere — and here we are, just off the coast of Queensland, Australia, at Hamilton Island in the picturesque Whitsundays.
But sorry, skippers, our sights are set not on marvelling at who has the bigger sail or the best tactics; rather, we're here for the designer fashion. After all, our much-sought-after invite to this sun-blessed isle comes from none other than online arbiter of style NET-A-PORTER and more pertinently, it saved us a front-row seat at its first ever stand-alone runway show.
Also a first-time partner of the glamorous AHIRW, it's only fitting that the high-fashion retailer should choose the six-star Qualia resort — owned by AHIRW founder and winemaker extraordinaire Bob Oatley — to host its evening rendezvous. And so it is that against a setting sun, the Whitsundays and a never-ending vista of turquoise waters that the London-headquartered NET-A-PORTER sends model after model down a glistening all-white runway — built atop Qualia's beach-fronting pool, no less.
Modelled by the likes of Nicole Trunfio and Alexandra Agoston, looks from Oscar de la Renta, Stella McCartney, Dolce & Gabbana, Roberto Cavalli and not to mention Australia's own Zimmermann, Lover, Sass & Bide and Michael Lo Sordo all channel laid-back glamour. But undoubtedly (in my opinion, at least) it is Temperley London's Cruz gown, with its contrasting types of graphic black lace, and a flowing, black goddess gown with metallic panels by Bottega Veneta's Tomas Maier that are highlights of the show.
Watching from front-row centre is Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen actress Isabel Lucas, who is joined by the likes of Gary Pepper's Nicole Warne and Oatley scion Nicky Tindall. After being cooped up at the NET-A-PORTER style suite all week, where she shared fashion tips and an edited selection of Autumn/Winter 2014 looks from the world's top brands with AHIRW guests, Global Head of Personal Shopping Lupe Puerta sits poolside as well, rocking an all-black ensemble.
The glitzy runway element comes to a close when the models take their final walk over the pool (to Swedish indie singer Lykke Li's “I Follow Rivers”). But without lychee martinis and champagne proffered by tray-carrying waiters, the evening isn't quite over yet. Post-show, we spy the genetically blessed Stenmark twins, Jordan and Zac — both former Mr Porter cover models — mingling among the hundred or so guests, graciously stopping every now and again to pose for photos.
What a view.
 NET-A-PORTER.com