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EXCLUSIVE: James Long Menswear S/S13

Gary Armstrong, assistant to show stylist Bryan McMahon, talks Alan Vega and abacus-inspired embroidery...

PhotographyMorgan O'Donovan

The show's initial concept was inspired by the Alan Vega song Kung-Foo Cowboy and was a nod of Japanese traditional clothing with James’ ever present contemporary aesthetic. I would say that the overriding mood of the collection was perhaps darker than previous seasons, but with that came an elegance and a slightly more sophisticated slant on his signature pieces.

The soundtrack was made by Hannah Hanra and used Vega’s Kung Foo Cowboy as the opening track, again the mood of the collection was echoed in the music – it too had a dark, almost industrial sound which matched perfectly with the cavernous show space at the Old Sorting Office.

We spent the morning at James' studio doing final fittings before heading over to the venue at 3pm, we set up the backstage area, arranged our dressers, and had the rehearsal run through – all the while James’ team put finishing touches on hand knits.

The only scary moment was when the decision was made to cut a look around 30 mins before show time – it was a mad scramble to then logistically work out changes and to make sure that the running order stayed strong. But once that was done and the boys lined up, the sense of relief was palpable!

My favourite look was look 2 worn by Bastian, I think he is a really great James Long boy, and the look was really sophisticated. The abacus-inspired embroidery was really beautifully crafted.

Text Gary Armstrong