James Long’s menswear collection for Spring/Summer 2012 confirms that Long is a talented designer who produces garments and accessories for men that get increasingly more accomplished and polished.
Inspired by the surrealist concrete sculpture garden created by British artist and patron Edward James in Las Pozas, Mexico, and reflecting an almost hallucinogenic state of mind, the collection includes luxuriant colours and textures that evoked the humid heat, and flora and fauna of the jungle. Printed cottons, linens, metallic yarns, and leathers feature prominently in the form of artistically worked paisley, leaf and floral patterns mixed with snake and leopard designs. The collection’s colour palette includes creams, gold, blues, purples, pinks and greens. This riot of colour and texture not only evokes the life of the jungle, but also echoes the exuberance of the early glam rock scene that inspired the collection.
If one could argue that the use of wild animal and nature prints is not entirely original and has been often used over the last couple of years by numerous designers (including Riccardo Tisci for Givenchy, Versace, or Dolce & Gabbana), Long’s collection stood out by providing expertly crafted and unique elements. The range of clothes comprises well-structured outerwear and an array of shorts and trousers (some of which in shades of grey or black as good grounding contrasts to the predominant fiery metallic fabrics and lavish prints) that generate a flattering look to the male shape.
Unlike what many menswear designers will be resorting to for Spring/Summer 2012, Long has avoided cargo shorts and cropped trousers, preferring instead to focus on tailoring that elongates the body and allows a focus on garments conceived to clad the torso. Long’s signature purposefully unstructured knitwear features very successfully, and a range of clutches, backpacks, and tote and weekend bags in snakeskin print is a much welcome addition. Other accessories, such as thick-soled metallic gladiator sandals (worn over ironic skin colour socks) and a selection of vintage sunglasses add a sophisticated touch of 1970s luxury.