January 08, 2013 London
John Waters didn't seem like the muse you'd imagine for James Long, whose collections often have a skittish, scratched-out intensity. But Long was in high spirits backstage as he celebrated his first show on his own, unfunded by any of London's young-designer initiatives. And even with his mud-puddle-and-phlegm color scheme, the slippery slickness of his rubberized coats and padded jackets, and his insistence on elasticating every pant leg in sight (in fairness, a malady that's gone around London this season like a cold), it was hard to fault him his pluck. Though it was hard to think who might be as enthusiastic about dressing the bad boy of Baltimore part as he. But then, pared down to pieces, the collection maintained its logic while deflating its shtick, and when Long appeared for his bow in one of those rubber-coated plaid macs, it barely seemed satirical at all. Get your Divine sweater while you can.