Even from the very start of the James Small show, deep down in the Somerset House catacombs (at least that’s how it felt), it was clear what the ‘Ground Control’ collection was all about. Small, a long time associate of Kim Jones, sent out model after model in refined, altered and deconstructed formal wear. Short-sleeved suit jackets and fusions between waistcoats and tailored jackets were just two examples of the 29-year-old’s obsession.
But denim wasn’t left alone; he used panelling and patchwork to make them stand out, and also basic white shirts were given the Small treatment. Often he didn’t use other colours than black and white, although a few navy, beige and grey pieces crept out. Sometimes the contrasts between his formal and casual wear took the spectators with surprise; a check shirt and a silver puffa jacket (think a futuristic version of MJ’s Thriller jacket) kept everyone on their toes.
It’s always good with new blood on the fashion circuit, and Small has quietly been around for ages. This – a collection inspired by Russian Cosmonauts, military uniforms, evening and work wear – left most people hungry for more. Starting with a re-make of eveningwear is a bold move, but James Small pulled it off, and even if it was a small step for James, it turned out to be a bigger one for London’s menswear scene.