London menswear designers have had a tough time recently. This was only their second solo showcase and, unforgivingly, it took place just days after Christmas. No festive fun for the capital’s creatives then. Given this pressure it was somewhat understandable, if not completely forgivable, that a handful of the collections on show appeared just slightly hurried. So it was a welcome surprise to see a show where a designer had really gone to town. But then again, James Long is not one to disappoint. His strikingly sharp showcase was packed to the rafters with casual finery, from decorated sweaters and horsehair shoes (a new collaboration with Kurt Geiger) to quilted nylon bombers, this season’s hero piece.
A new shape to note was the voluminous trousers, which were tightly tailored at the top before falling into a baggier, jogger-like form on the leg (a style that’s been the strange hit of the season). When teamed with the bombers they aggressively accentuated the waist – potentially a tricky silhouette to pull off, but one that Long mastered artfully thanks to a careful focus on cut. Points for detailing also go to GQ Style's Luke Day who'd styled the show to ensure that palette, print and proportion all shone in unison.
It’s hard to pick star pieces when a showcase is tight, but if hedging my bets I'd say those cheery flamingo and Divine sweaters – a tribute to John Waters - will pack a punch in store.