This was Thomas Tait's first shot at a pre-collection, and he really didn't want to take it. "I just didn't believe in the idea," he admitted. But something odd happened once he started designing. As he pulled out old sketches, he realized he was revisiting ideas that he'd originally left unfinished or half-baked. So the collection evolved into a kind of seedbed for the future, starting with his upcoming Fall presentation.

At least that's how Tait saw it. What seemed more immediately obvious was the designer's original, tentative frame of mind, manifest in a bulky shapelessness that felt like it was waiting for definition. Maybe that will come with the Fall collection. But the aerodynamism that has characterized Tait's work in the past was boxed off, literally in the case of the big pleats that created a half skirt/half pant hybrid. What worked best were Tait's new mutations of fan faves, the oversize biker (unstiffened a little, with a new collar) and the white shirt (deeper collar, shaped sleeve).