Royal College of Art graduate James Long originally debuted his menswear collection in SS10, making a name for himself with his strong and directional look and innovative use of knitwear and leather. In AW11 a womenswear collection followed and it became apparent that James Long is a designer who can effortlessly channel his aesthetic equally well for both sexes. Taking a particular inspiration, he manages to create a set of twin collections that interpret the brief in both a masculine and feminine way.
For Spring Summer 12 Long took bamboo leaf and the surrealist garden Las Pozas as a starting point for a collection that fused metallics, sequins and snakeskin printed leather. Taking a desert colour scheme, the motifs of bamboo and snakeskin suggested a glamorous world traveller. Meanwhile, for women, a mix of embellishment and metallic leather took the same theme but with slightly more sparkle for a high octane luxury.
For AW12, the previous themes merged in Long’s menswear collection. We saw that opulent embellishment in small touches like jewelled collars and embroidered shirts but they were contrasted with traditional men’s workwear. The collection was shown in the main BFC show space in Somerset House, proving how far this young designer has come.
The inspiration for the collection was Edward Burtynskys’ ‘Quarries’, which is a series of photographs depicting the devastating effect quarries have on the natural world. The other reference point was David Lynch, in particular Twin Peaks. So we saw retro knits and checked lumberjack coats alongside more subtle knit wear in bleak colours and patchwork detailing with multiple textures of leather, velvet and shearling. The collection called to mind a real man’s man, in a northwestern American mining town but with a surreal twist in the luxurious detailing. “I wanted to do something that was about dream and escape, and also about glamour and seduction”, says Long.
Meanwhile at Long’s Fashion East presentation, his woman was the American oil baron’s glamorous young wife. Purple metallics and a muted autumnal palette were mixed with chunky, handmade knitwear. Some of the same fabrics, such as the shearling and the leather really showed how the two looks were two parts of a whole, rather than separate beings.
Images James Long and Wonderland Magazine