February 21, 2012 London
"This is my favorite collection so far," said Long after the presentation. "I am definitely in a more sinister, heavier mood. 'No Fun' is on the soundtrack as well," he added cheerfully. Playing the baddie seems to suit the designer. As dour as his inspirations sound, there was joy amid the ominous. Long does have much to be happy about. He is the first menswear designer to win the Fashion Forward award, and in many ways, this collection was a luxurious summation of his signatures.
There are the dense handknits, rocklike in texture and formation, sometimes shot through with gold thread. Then there are the great leather pieces—this time, black leather jackets were inset with different materials such as cropped curly white sheepskin or tricolor woven wool, layered and pulled through to reveal brighter layers underneath. A particular standout was a dense, shaved, quarry-colored sheepskin coat layered with a matching heavy gilet and slouchy trousers. Light-absorbing was contrasted with high-shine, embellishment with everyday textures, such as flashes of matte gold sequins on chambray shirts. It all added to the impression that this was a kind of extravagant, byzantine workwear.
"I suppose the outerwear is the void," the designer mused. "But then there is something contained within. It is the outer layers of winter with something else breaking through. Something that isn't ground down." Existential angst shot through with optimism, you might say. Maybe there was a little Lennon in it after all. As the original Quarryman defiantly put it, "A working-class hero is something to be."