“I was looking at people who are so natural in their clothing, they think they are blending in, but they’re totally not,” James Long described the starting point of his SS16 collection. “There’s a real freedom to it.” Translated to clothing, this meant a kind of energetic eclecticism, driven by the opposition of traditionally ‘dressed up’ garments – waistcoats, blazers, a smoking jacket – with gym shorts, jeans or tracksuit pants.
It was a concept that Long called ‘informally formal dress.’ The central garment here seemed to be the ruffled shirt, which open and closed the show – untucked, almost chaotic, it was designed to remind of a boy who had been out all night, making his way home. By loosening up these traditionally formal pieces, the collection was afforded a youthful vitality. Shapes were loose and slouchy, the prints bold and colourful and even the dinner jacket felt fresh cast in lightweight nylon.
Alongside this, denim was an essential element of Long’s vision for the season. Whether tie-dyed or patchworked, in shorts, jackets or jeans, it added a kind of thrown-together vibrancy. As if to distil its importance, Long came out to take his bow in an embellished denim jacket from his previous Spring collection. It reflected Long’s enduring ability to create the pieces that his customers want to buy – proof that looking back is sometimes the best way to move forward.
GALLERYBackstage at this show