Trust Thomas Tait to take you somewhere interesting – both literally and via his clothes. Still drowsy and fighting the 9am morning chill, we found ourselves in a rundown graffiti park that hides beneath Queen Elizabeth’s Hall and that served as the setting of Tait’s second spring/summer 2013 show. Amid neon-flicking light and smoke machines, the models took on the pop-up catwalk in voluminous cocoon coats, tailored shorts and trousers, and shiny sci-fi booties that called back to the 60’s. Only it was a 60’s in the future, distilled through Tait’s non-conformist minimalist approach.
Keeping lines and silhouettes clean, the young designer, known for being the youngest ever Central Saint Martins fashion graduate, returned to his signature affinity for hard and sculpted separates, often in leather. Indeed, what came across as most innovative and uniquely his, were the tyre like gilet tops in black and white leather, attesting to his unique sensibility and intuition for taking something heavily industrial and transforming it into striking and empowering womenswear.
However, there was a newfound softness and femininity to this collection that particularly evoked the 60’s; be it the nouvelle vague/sci-fi turtlenecks and knee-length skirts or the lighter sheen and candy colored fabrics that predominated the collection. He lost his magic touch on some of the coats (the overly shiny turquoise being a case in point), but kept most of them oversized and graphic in line, which beautifully offset the saccharine sweetness of the colors. The tulip-shaped trousers from last season also returned in a softer, looser form, again serving as ideal counterbalance to Tait’s customary structured leather jackets and blazers.
The show definitely marked a gradual move towards more wearable and feminine separates, which, while unusual for Tait, really became him. As long he continues to experiment with proportion in his inimitably precise and imaginative way, he can certainly afford to even further blur the boundaries between masculine and feminine, and, as far as this collection shows, to a great effect.
- Maria Dimitrova