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James Long AW15
Backstage at James Long AW15Photography Virginia Arcaro

James Long AW15

Inspired by 60s underground filmmaker Jack Smith, the designer clashes lace, leather and erotic prints

Initial reaction:

Stevie Nicks and Don Henley's “Leather & Lace” personified. Denim was augmented with lace appliqué and Liquid Sky-esque illustrations by artist James Davidson from the Sacred Band of Thebes provided a cheeky wink to the erotic. 

Steal like an artist:

"I was looking at Jack Smith and the Destruction of Atlantis (2006) as a kind of muse for the collection," Long explains backstage of the documentary charting counter-cultural filmmaker Jack Smith. "He was a filmmaker in New York, and he was the only person John Waters and Andy Warhol ever said they’d copy.” Smith, a pioneer of underground cinema, was best known for Flaming Creatures (1963), his satire of Hollywood B movies. Copies of the film were snatched away at the premiere as it was deemed too ‘pornographic’, and the film is, technically, still banned. How that translated into Long’s collection was through the anarchic battle between juxtaposing fabrics. “The lace was there to combat the jersey in a way,” he continues, “The collection was really about combatting each bit with another. Every jacket or shape that is expected I wanted to change and twist it."

Confiscated coats:

Speaking of banned, all of Long’s puffa jackets – a “key look for the collection” – didn’t arrive in time for the show. The irony wasn’t lost on Long. “They just got stuck in customs and I was like, ‘The show is going to go on,’” he says. "This is a nylon print that we used James Davidson's colours from the illustrations and dragged it across and made it this luxe thing. Davidson creates these drawings of these armies that are very erotic and sexy, and they have that rawness as well. I’m just a huge fan of his.” Since they never saw the catwalk, will his puffer jackets ever see the light of day? “We’ll do something special with them,” he smiles. “In a way it’s really fun – like a little surprise.”

The soundtrack to James Long AW15: