When you think of the Brits going to the beach, you imagine the drunken hordes getting sunburnt around the Mediterranean. Patrick Grant, the man behind E. Tautz
, had another vision. As his starting point for Spring, he used the book A Day Off
by photographer Tony Ray-Jones, which depicts the English at their leisure, relaxing soberly within the U.K. Martin Parr's photos from the 1980s, which explore the same theme, had also been on the mood board. What comes across in both sets of pictures is not exactly a nation of bons vivants. "We love going to the sea even though the weather is awful. There's an oddity to these people, and something bittersweet about them," Grant said, pointing to an image of a man in a three-piece suit and hat who had rolled up his trouser legs so he could get just the right amount of beachside feel. "The Brits are just terribly adaptable to the hideousness of it all," Grant explained, pointing to his collection's laburnum-framed sunglasses, modeled on welder's goggles "because that's what you had at hand," or the Louboutin high-tops that had been turned into a sandal, literally by cutting out parts of the shoe. Perhaps this was also the reason why so much of the collection of "beachwear" was rainproof.
The stripes of deck chairs ran through the collection, but they were also a reference to mods, since mods and rockers (who were reduced to zippers) used to meet up at seaside resorts to wage battle during the 1960s. The look was mostly a high-waisted one, mostly with loose-fitting trousers or jeans, looking both workwear in heavy selvedge cotton twill and Northern Soul in shape. A stretch of bronze shower-proof silk-nylon parkas and zip blousons showcased the E. Tautz knack for creating quiet beauty. Grant had wanted to use a lot of denim because it felt like the clothing of the working-class man, a theme he portrayed as a way forward for tailoring, since Savile Row, in his mind, only skims the aristocratic surface of tradition. There are lots of clues in the past, Grant believes, and he pointed out that E. Tautz had taken a similar approach with the Olympic references in the Spring 2012 collection. What Grant is proposing isn't radical, but it's still quite out there—a flamboyance that comes across as masculine, if not necessarily macho.