LONDON: It was an unusually sunny, October day as GRAZIA took to the English capital of London. The sun was beating down as it gave a welcomed edge to the frosty autumn morning. Four Australian journalists – I, included – joked we had brought the Sydney sunshine with us, following a 26-hour commute from Australia. At the time, it hadn’t occurred to us that perhaps, it was the brilliant presence of Cara Delevingne’s striking personality, that pulsated from an unknown hotel in Central London. While department stores hung glistening decorations in time for the Christmas season, e-commerce giant Nasty Gal had its own celebrations in order as it ushered in its newly-released holiday collection. In collaboration with the model-cum-actress-cum-activist, the fashionable power couple disrupted the bustling side streets of SoHo for a fitting launch – and boy, was it one hell of party. I had the headache to prove it.

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Situated in a laneway of the trendy suburb, an indescribable buzz had begun to brew outside the famed cabaret and nightclub, The Box. Plastered on the walls outside, Cara’s legs were on show, wearing a silver, sequin mini. Guarded by red velvet ropes, a line of global influencers and journalists had amassed and snaked around the corner of the street. Paparazzi eagerly captured glamorous guests and excitedly waited for the guest of honour. With a capacity of 200 and an alleged guest list of over 400, it was set to be the most anticipated event of the season. But The Box is no stranger to raucous events and extravagant happenings – celebrities are always at the forefront.

Opened in 2011 by Simon Hammerstein – the grandson of musical theatre legend Oscar Hammerstein I – the London event space is the sister to the even more notorious venue in New York City. Billed as a ‘theatre of varieties’, the exclusive club has become know for its 1am show and involves everything from acrobatics to explicit performances. Kate Moss, Emma Watson and Prince Harry have allegedly been seen on separate occasions between the hazy shadows of The Box. With a strict “no phones” policy during the spectacle – an apparent challenge for social media moguls, journalists and publicists – guests of the launch were treated to a mere snippet of what can be expected on any given Saturday night. Dancers hung from the ceilings on silks and danced on tables while acrobats clambered upon each other to perform both death and gravity-defying poses. The proof? You’ll have to visit yourself – it’s truly a see to believe experience.

Like any in-demand model, punctuality is key, and with secret word that Cara Delevingne would arrive at 25 minutes past 8pm, her arrival was planned down to the minute as she strutted amongst the strobe lights to the top floor of the buzzing space. In-hand with girlfriend Ashley Benson, the 27-year-old donned a houndstooth wide leg pant and cropped, double-breasted blazer drawn from the collaborative line. With her hair slicked back behind her ears and a smouldering, smoky eyeshadow look, the A-lister was presented as the epitome of the punk princess she has become known for. It is no surprise in this case, that her line of 40+ pieces were drawn from rock’n’roll icons in history’s past.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled to star in Nasty Gal’s holiday campaign,” Delevingne said, reflecting at the time of the anticipated launch. “I’ve followed the brand for years and am inspired by their approach to fashion – always rebellious and ever-evolving. I love to work with brands that push the envelope on style, and this collection does just that.”

For Nasty Gal, its collaborations are far more considered than one might initially believe. As with recent collections including Sarah Ellen, Natasha Oakley and most notably Emily Ratajkowski, the growing list of faces are always synonymous with the ‘Nasty Woman’ philosophy – unapologetically trailblazing females. With over 43 million followers on Instagram, Cara Delevingne’s influence is widely recognised as she uses her platform to advocate for societal issues as she continues to make waves in the fashion, film and music industries. From one power woman to another, the 27-year-old looked to strong female rock and pop icons Cher and Stevie Nicks, as inspiration for the collaborative line.

“Fashion allows me to express my mood. It can be empowering to feel sexy, or cozy or chic,” It’s empowering to select pieces of clothing to illustrate how you feel on the inside on any given day.”

As if we have stepped into a high-definition, revival of the 1980’s, the collection boasts an array of era-inspired looks. Featuring beaded jackets, statement tees, sheer tops, oversized suiting, power shoulders, vegan leather, sequins and fringe, it as if the pieces were pulled from the stage and street of another time, albeit with a modern twist. Applying the Nasty Gal sensibility, shirts are cropped, skirts have a creeping hemline and pants hug the waist – so effortlessly creating looks made for the incoming party season. Accompanying the collection, its campaign was aptly shot at the world-renowned Electric Lady Studios in Greenwich Village, New York City. Founded by the late Jimi Hendrix, the lauded musician is considered one of the most influential creatives of the 20th century after he pioneered the possibilities of the electric guitar in the rock’n’roll genre. Hendrix had only spent 10 weeks recording in the Electric Lady Studios before his untimely death on September 18, 1970. To this day, the space still harbours and produces strokes of genius for the music industry and provides the perfect backdrop to the inspired line of silhouettes.

For Delevingne, the road to overwhelming success begun when she signed with Storm Management after leaving school in 2009. Her skyrocket launch to fame was quick and soon she was walking for prestigious houses such as Chanel and earned her wings as a Victoria’s Secret Model in 2012. In 2015, the supermodel slammed the fashion industry for its body standards and since then has become a vocal activist on not only industry practices, but women’s rights, mental health and animal conservation. Most recently, she displayed her support for actress and fellow activist Jane Fonda following the 81-year-old’s arrest after she had protested at a number of climate rallies last month. Delevingne showed the same support for Greta Thunberg as she delivered a powerful and emotional plea to the UN. This polarising and captivating passion is reflected in collaborative pieces with Nasty Gal.

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For the blonde punkish princess, her favourite piece is “the jeans with the cut-outs right below the bum and the crop tops.” So, what’s your go-to staple? Shop the collection here.

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