In a sportswear-dominated Man Day in London, it was perhaps left to E. Tautz to show where the peculiarly British fetish for a certain kind of sportswear came from and where it was going, too. As many of the young menswear designers showed a spin on the sportswear that has become ubiquitous on Britain's streets from the early eighties onward, E. Tautz showed how the clientele of the street could eventually graduate to "The Street"—that bastion of British menswear, Savile Row.
Tautz's Patrick Grant approaches the history and legacy of his Savile Row house with an almost evangelical zeal. It is his desire to keep the craftsmanship, quality, and special ways of working of his British suppliers alive and relevant for his customers today. Perhaps this collection went further than any previous to do that, and it was a quietly standout moment for E. Tautz.
Yet it wasn't stuffy or staid. "We're taking the formality out of tailoring," Grant said. "There can be a certain stigma attached to it, but we wanted to do something beyond putting a tailored jacket with a pair of jeans." He turned suiting sporty, inspired by photographs of early-twentieth-century athletes, such as Harold Abrahams and the tale of the the Cuban marathon-running postman Felix Carvajal, who competed in the St. Louis Olympics of 1904 in nonathletic gear—including hobnail boots and a hat. There was an extreme insouciance to the wearing of the clothes this season that was slightly loopy yet extremely chic.
In Grant's hands, a pair of light gray tennis shorts might be teamed with a heavy linen double-breasted jacket. Gray flannel trousers were gathered and elasticated at the ankle like sweatpants. There were shocks of bright color in a flare orange military nylon parka or a cobalt blue ventile trench. And while the knits were heavy and perfect (and made by "eight ladies in South Wales"), some of the best jumpers were the ultra-luxurious cashmere sweatshirts that were an off-kilter spin on varsity letterman sweaters.