Entitled “Kung Fu Cowboy”, this collection was testament to the fact that whether it’s east Berlin, East London – or Samurai climes – this designer’s sartorial explorations always land us back in the now and next.
The cowboy in question here is none other than our very own intrepid James Long – and my, how he has sharpened up his game. Clamoring across the likes of Raf Simons, Helmut Lang, and the Antwerp Six, this collection achieved a graphic clarity that reached for the heart of eastern minimalism. East also mixed with the conventional, as cotton mixed with bamboo – for summer light knits so breathable, they felt spiritual.
Josef Albers was name checked as the source of inspiration for the double-faced waffle fabric. However, an artist is nothing without his collaborators. Hence, the super slick mathematical shirting, and black geometric knits owed as much to Oskar Schlemmer’s gridwork, Kandinsky’s compositions, and the weaves of his textile designer wife – Anni Albers. Regardless, the Bauhaus bunch would have been proud: with James’s incredible knits being the epitome of everyday artisan.
The fluttering corrugated culottes shared the spotlight with his eponymous knits. Think tectonic easiness.
As the collection played out to Alan Vegas’s Brooklyn protopunk sounds, the musician’s electronic debris art sculptures slotted into the rag picking vernacular of anti-art modernism – and featured here as metallic knitwear embellishments.
Germanic. Homespun. Kraftwerk now takes on a whole new meaning. This collection was a refined exploration of industrial thinking. And, James Long’s best to date.