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Men's London Fashion Week: A Star Is Made

And he's dressing people in glittery flamingo jumpers.

James Long

The second day of LC:M has been and gone, leaving all who witnessed it with only a few snatched street style pictures and empty scavenged goody-bags. Disappointment issues aside, one of my favourite things about menswear shows is that people's demeanours are the exact opposite of what you'd expect to find at a womenswear event. If you're don't act kind of surprised to be at a men's fashion show the whole time you're there, you're way too keen. I like that, I really am constantly surprised to be there, especially when "there" is a huge atrium with polished concrete floors, being patrolled by beautiful, delicate, long-haired, thick-lipped creatures like the models in the Christoper Shannon show. (I'm talking about the boys.)



But let's start with James Long. If you need a sign of just how big the British designer has become, the front row presence of that guy who wears a way-too-tight Hermes belt, blazer and gold aviators to every major show during London Fashion Week was a tiny but unmistakeable indicator: James Long, you have M-A-D-E I-T.

Not that anybody was doubting that, Long's collaborators for the show – accessories by Kurt Geiger, soundtrack by BEAT editor Hanna Hanra (The Avalanches mixed in with a bit of O. Children) – cement him as the savviest menswear designer of the day. The invitation arrived in a beautiful black leather and ponyskin wallet, which was EXCITING, and KG x JL didn't disappoint, triumphing with the calf-skin "inside-out monk shoes", some in horse-hair with transparent plastic panels, that they sent out with the collection.

Inspired by John Waters, Long's collection was embellished and intricate but maintained a sense of playfulness and confidence. Quilted bombers, flamingo jumpers and rubberised tailored sweatpants (god that doesn't translate well, does it) didn't feel in the least bit contrived, and there was a coherence to every look and every piece that demonstrates James's confidence within his signature style. A graphic print shirt which my boyfriend kept going on about while I was trying to spot Vogue editors in the opposite block was a standout piece. Basically, it was really, really good.



Christopher Shannon showed some womenswear this season too, which made everyone collectively "Yay!" yesterday. Whether or not this was actually womenswear, or just really small menswear on girls, remains up for debate, but it added a necessary extra element to a collection which felt a little staid for Shannon.

Straight leg trousers in mixed denims were covered in strips of gaffa tape inspired by that documentary American Movie in which possibly the coolest man in America attempts to make the greatest horror movie of all time, during which he gets a guy to smash his head really hard through a wooden cupboard door, lots and lots of times. It's great. The bit where he bathes his drunk grandpa on Christmas Day is great too. Unforunately, the weirdness of Chris Smith didn't quite make it into the collection, and while parts were fantastic (the jumpers and shirts tied round the model's waists, for example), overall it felt kind of lacking. The models with greasy combovers and pouty lips were to die for, though. Check out this guy. Dribble.