I'm ashamed (am I?) to say that James Long was practically the only thing I liked about menswear day in London. I feel apprehensive writing this, I want to support British designers yadda yadda yadda [NB desperate attempt to avoid internet backlash], but I think going to Paris for fashion week the past few seasons has kind of spoiled me for London. While there are many world-class womenswear designers here (Christopher Kane, Peter Pilotto, Jonathan Saunders, Louise Gray, Mary Katrantzou, Erdem, the list goes on...) I just don't feel the same way about menswear, despite the press releases the BFC likes to ram down our throats on a regular basis. Most of the stuff on the official schedule would be considered filler if it were shown during women's week and don't even get me started on the quality of the off-schedule shows I saw...
This is why James Long's show was so refreshing, even if the total look isn't my personal style. I don't pretend to have any expertise in fashion design - I'm a physicist for God's sake - but I approach this here blog as a consumer. I go to the shows to be inspired and see what I want to buy, and then document it here. James makes stuff I could see myself buying. Really good quality looking knits, leather jackets, coats and bags displayed in a professional, no-nonsense kind of show. It's slick and it's also no wonder that James is now showing womenswear as part of Fashion East. There are still interesting 'London' design quirks - red patent trousers, oversized accessories - but everything looks a lot more luxurious and desirable than much of the student pap people rave about. For me that is the point of high-end fashion: the perfectly balanced combination of escapist fantasy, artistic design and bloody good quality fabrication. Only one question remains. Why isn't James showing his textured mohairs and quilted leathers in Milan? I can see a collection like this fitting in very nicely there.