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London Fashion Week S/S 2012 Menswear Day Catwalk Review: James Small

James Small presented his exquisite menswear collection at Vauxhall Fashion Scout on Wednesday 21 September, cheered on by celebrity pals Kate Moss, Jamie Hince, James Brown, Sadie Frost, Meg Matthews and more!

Written by Matt Bramford

James Small S/S 2012 by Milly Jackson

I arrived at the James Small show pretty early – such is the bonkers London Fashion Week schedule that some shows overlap and then you’re left with huge gaps in your day. I joined the small but perfectly formed queue and waited for a pal to arrive. The show was delayed, prescription I was informed, because of the knock-on effect of late-runners throughout the day. The queue eventually began moving a mere 20 minutes late, and just as we were about to be let in, we were halted by an impossibly gorgeous PR girl. Her colleague came over and whispered ‘Kate’s imminent, we should hold the queue‘. Now, I don’t know if it was the pint I’d just enjoyed or the onset stir-crazy sensation I was experiencing after 6 days of shows, but I started sweating profusely. It couldn’t be, could it? ‘Calm down, Matt’ I internally repeated. It can’t be. She wouldn’t. It might be a code word. It might be Kate Adie.

Kate Moss by Antonia Parker

Eventually, after much discussion, it was decided that we should be allowed in because this mysterious Kate hadn’t yet arrived. We were escorted individually up the grand staircase of the Freemasons Hall, this Vauxhall Fashion Scout venue, and assigned seats on the front row. Seating was heavily policed, and I enjoyed the personal escort, but it was taking bloody ages and another show downstairs was set to take place pretty soon afterwards. Jaime Winstone, looking incredible with a silver grandma up-do and vertiginous heels, entered the room and was seated with little fuss. Now I love Jaime Winstone, but if ‘Kate’ was a codename for Jaime Winstone, I was about to go berserk.

Kate Moss by Claire Kearns

Kate Moss by Gilly Rochester

The personal escort service soon turned into a scrum; somebody had clearly realised that it just wasn’t practical. I let out a huge sigh as I said to my friend ‘Well, Kate clearly isn’t coming.’ ‘What?’ my friend replied, ‘she’s over there!’ I turned to my left to study the front row. Somehow I had missed the arrival of Meg Matthews, Sadie Frost, Annabelle Neilson, James Brown, Jamie Hince and… Kate Moss. Kate FREAKIN’ Moss!

All photography by Matt Bramford

There was little fuss as I struggled to fight the urge to jump out of my seat, leap across the catwalk, gather Kate up in my arms and force her to take my hand in marriage. It all happened so quickly, and of course, now Kate had arrived, the show must go on.

James Small S/S 2012 by Gabriel Ayala

It was tricky to concentrate on the show knowing that My Kate was mere feet away, but being the consummate professional that I am, I took up my camera and started to study the clothes, being carefully to take a picture of Kate in between each look. The fashion on offer was actually great, and I don’t know why I was thinking that it might not be. The secondary venue at Fashion Scout is actually much nicer – a dark wood arch divides the old stone room, dark wood lines the floor and majestic chandeliers hover above the revellers. Models appear almost out of nowhere. You do lose sight of the models as they bound through the arch, unfortunately, but this ensured enough time to snap Kate excessively.

James Small S/S 2012 by Sam Parr

Hysteria mounted thanks to the special guests: Kate and her entourage whooped and cheered every look and wolf-whistled translucent shirts, which sent roars of laughter through the room. Last season’s sharp tailoring continued this time around, but had been given a more casual feel for the discerning gentleman who manages to looking devastatingly cool without any real effort during the summer months.

James Small S/S 2012 by Milly Jackson

Small’s mainstay silk shirts had been jazzed up with the aforementioned translucency, and romantic florals with an air of Liberty were the most aesthetically appealing pieces in the collection, particularly a shirt/shorts combination with identical print. I’m not sure I’d get away with it, but the model did with aplomb.

Small‘s sharp tailoring was dressed down with white ankle-high sports socks and Vans in varying colours – when I read this on the press release I wasn’t so sure about it, but seeing it in the flesh allowed it to make sense. Rich colours: plum and royal blue, and luxe materials: silk and velvet, made this collection Small‘s most sophisticated yet. Retaining an edge above his competitors with leopard print and camouflage short shorts, it’s Small’s sharp cuts and sophisticated tailoring that really set him above the rest. That and his stellar front row, of course.


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