Thomas Tait; What’s Going On?

With accolades such as being the youngest graduate of the Central Saint Martins MA course, as well as his recent win othe LVMH’s inauggural Young Fashion Designer Prize earlier this year (receiving a cool €300,000 for the pleasure), Thomas Tait found himself surrounded by a considerable buzz at this season’s London Fashion Week. Would the pressure be too much, or would it be just the thing to push the young designer to new and greater heights?

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The unusual setting was the first indication that this was going to be something a little different; Tait collaborated with artist George Rousse to create an installation within a gutted building on London’s Southbank, in which his audience squeezed together on wooden benches, surrounded by painted walls. Rousse’s influence also came through within the clothes themselves, which is another step forward for Tait, who up until now has taken a stringently solo approach, avoiding even mood boards when he is designing.

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Tait is known for his sharp eye, attention to details and clean, almost clinical approach to design; and this collection demonstrated all of that, with an experimental little twist. Punches of neon peeked beneath trench coats and dresses, whilst geometric forms protruded from shoulders or hemlines; Tait made sure that the overall effect was one of precision, with the neat jackets and little pleated skirts.

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The colour palette was acidic and often jarring, adding to the slightly unsettling mood that Tait was evidently trying to evoke within this unusual setting. Yellows, pinks, oranges and reds starkly shone midst the more neutral beige and black tones; it all felt a little sci-fi, a little dystopian. Those checkerboard pieces of beige and red, and the of beige and blue, looked as though they were a part of the painted installation; which was, of course, Tait’s intention.

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Towards the end of the show, the clothes were either completely sheer or somehow revealing; skirts with high slits up the leg, open bodices and cut-out panels. “I was thinking about sexiness, which is not my territory, and that was fun,” Tait explained.

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Tait’s building on what he has done before, but taking it one step further; and that’s surely a recipe for success. I can’t wait to see what he does next.

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