The series of supremely chic standaway coats that opened Thomas Tait's second show suggested worship in the church of Cristobal Balenciaga. But Tait, one of London's bubbling-under new talents, isn't a disciple of the past. That includes his own. For Spring, he broke away from his dark, tailored reputation in favor of light and color.

In a way, Tait lives for newness, especially in technique. Take the glossy, textured fabric he developed for this collection. It's the kind of thing that makes you squint, trying to figure out exactly what it is. Answer: a pleated jersey with a clear print and colored foil overlay. It's safe to say no one used that in 1953. That fabric accounted for the fluorescent tube lights that lined the benches in the intimate space at Alison Jacques Gallery: "Basically, the best way to see it is with colored lights," Tait said. "I like that people aren't safe with what color it is. It's more fluid." In a season of color that smacks you upside the head, the subtlety of baby pinks and mint greens stood out.

The look here was a mix of clinical, sporty, and monastic in varying doses. Those funny puffy white sneakers and slightly droopy-eyed sunglasses, made in collaboration with Cutler and Gross, cut the potentially stifling purity. Meanwhile, racerback dresses with cutaway tails provided a hint of sexual tension. A pair of biker jackets, worn with cropped trousers like a futuristic fifties greaser, was unexpected but still fit into the picture—not an easy feat in just 19 looks. Tait's version is almost made from a single piece of leather, a Japanese plongé that comes in sheets 33 feet wide. A challenge, yes, and expensive, to boot. But Tait has hit upon his own exquisite, if laborious, MO, and it's a treat to watch it unfold.