Ah, the Second Summer of Love, that period in the late-Eighties and early-Nineties when the counter culture, infuriated by the sterility and suffocation of the Thatcher government turned conservative Britain on its head. Long before a BBC-sponsored Glastonbury, and the corporate excess of Coachella, Acid House and free party soundsystems such as Nottingham’s DiY, Spiral Tribe, and the South West’s Lazy House reinvigorated festival culture in this country.
Anyone who lived through this period will easily recognise the influences in James Long’s Spring/Summer 2016 menswear collection; the tie-dye, the marbled Miami Vice prints, jumpers knitted from spare balls of wool, and battered denim, panelled and patched together. Everything a crumpled jumble of pattern and texture, with an unconscious ease and convenience, askew and dishevelled– as if the models had just arrived back from Castle Morton in their paisley drawstring trousers, dressing gown coats and wrinkled, beruffled dress shirts.
Forget the glossies and high street chains’ prescribed festival dressing, James Long not only takes “festival fashion” back to its modern roots, he also takes it out of its rave-in-a-field context and makes it utterly covetable, once again cementing his position as one of London’s adroit and insightful menswear designers.
Review written by Lee Clatworthy (@bombfashion) for www.katiechutzpah.com