James Long Menswear Fall Winter 2014 London
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Something quite sentimental transpired at the James Long show today. On the seat was a sheet titled "Bryan McMahon - Show Dedication". Fret not, this is no detraction from the actual show but a recognition long overdue to stylists who labour just as hard as the designers and are indispensable to the process - an homage tragically timed in light of McMahon's recent passing. Long recounted in his letter that McMahon is "one of the strongest visionary I have come across...[and would] sit in the studio all night with us partly to make sure we were working".

Bryan McMahon's legacy is passed onto the hands of Luke Day who did much justice. Models had wet viscous hair patted down flat helmet-style almost akin to retro-futuristic visions of dystopia a la Ridley Scott's 'Bladerunner' circa '82. It quickly brought James Long's primitive sci-fi narrative to life.

Silhouettes had a sportswear functionality to it but notions of complete practicality are belied by Long's signature details. The fabrication really showcased his technical skills where outerwear had a quilting treatment unseen before. Larger quilts were positioned strategically with micro quilts in a series of pattern blocking that help create vibrant textures. Long's expertise in knit is applied through the isolation of different materials on a single fabric much like manipulating a cacophony of fibers in a single knit garment. The ribbons woven through leather to create an innovative texture, most closely demonstrates Long's knitting acumen. Jogging bottoms are also the result of the layering of mesh over jersey. The inclusion of rich textures lands the collection in a category previously unchartered of 'maximalist sportswear', one would presume.

The further twist manifests itself in the form of part sportswear colour-blocking, part modern Constructivist shapes, that filtered through the collection. You can just see Grace Jones in one of these multi-coloured quilt bombers in a Jean-Paul Goude 80s reprise.

The collection in its entirety is a testament to the synergy between an accomplished designer and dedicated stylists, without which the show would not have been as impactful as it proved to be.

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