There are dinosaurs all over London; vast, desolate spaces in the heart of the city that have languished empty for years, through either politics or economics or disinterest. Thomas Tait, winner of the inaugural LVMH prize, chose one such space for his collection today - the bleak concrete hulk of 180 Strand, an abandoned office block that's been in redevelopment bureaucracy for over a decade.
Inside, past rusting shutters and stairs sprouting with weeds, the show space had every sign of its former life - floors, ceilings, furniture, fittings - violently ripped out. In their place, Tait had commissioned Paris-based artist Georges Rousse to insert flat, subtly warped planes of red, yellow and wan blue.
The effect was mirrored refracted in Tait's clothes. He's always (although 'always' in his case, is barely two years) been fascinated with precision and surface, and his double-faced, contrast-lined garments in silk satin, viscose and taffeta were as smoothly compelling as ever; their lurid fuchsia and marigold innards giving the cuts a savage fury. Citrus-bright filament knits acted as a counterpoint to the solid indigo monoliths of Tait's outerwear, teamed with nude sheaths that clung and shifted with the body.
The curve ball in the collection came with the more random-seeming touches, like one-sleeved jackets and dresses which sprouted abrupt translucent tatters. But the finale, with its harlequin skirts and full-length dresses that were slashed into licking flames, left a powerful impression - one that stayed, long after the last flash of colour had vanished from the emptying room.
Plus, one of the bonuses of an award like the LVMH one should be the ability to play fast and loose with your concepts. That's far, far better than playing safe.