The New Guard: Patrick Grant on E. Tautz & the Best of London Men’s
E. Tautz showed last Tuesday, the final day of the London menswear collections. We put together a show that celebrated the oddity of the English at their leisure, inspired by the wonderful Tony Ray-Jones. It is the show I have been most pleased with to date; the music, the casting, the clothes. It had some of the sensibility of our earlier collections, particularly Spring ’12, but with a level of technical competence that only comes with experience. You get the sense across all of the London collections from my fellow emerging designers of an increased confidence and competence that a few years of hard graft brings. And all without blandly pandering to notions of commerciality—which seem to be characterizing the Milan collections in particular. To be commercial, clothes don’t need to be facsimiles of the familiar; they simply need to be desirable.
With the exception of some of the bigger brands, which increasingly feel like schedule stuffing, London’s menswear embraces the new; there are no bounds to the cultural, social, and historical references that are scattered throughout the best of the collections on show here. I am boarding-school-educated, middle class, Edinburgh Scottish, and this informs the clothes that I show and wear, but the collections that I enjoy most are those that take me somewhere else. The propositions put forward by Craig Green, Agi & Sam, Nasir, KTZ, Chris Shannon, James Long, Lee Roach, Matthew Miller, Kit Neale, and many others were clearly spoken—and were listened to by, I believe, some very grateful ears. The BFC, Topman, and all of the other sponsors have to be applauded for giving us all our soapbox.
Photos: Courtesy of Patrick Grant