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April 19 2014

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Tait Takes the Dorchester

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Thomas Tait and models

Thomas Tait and models

“I can’t afford to go home,” designer Thomas Tait admitted yesterday at the Dorchester Collection Fashion Prize awards in London, referring to the cost of a return flight to his native Montreal. Not to worry. A few minutes later, Tait received the evening’s top honors and his ticket, as it were: the £25,000 inaugural prize—bestowed by an industry who’s-who of judges including Manolo Blahnik, Bronwyn Cosgrave, Giles Deacon, and Daphne Guinness—and a chance to stage an event (and presumably, order room service) at the Dorchester Collection hotel of his choice. While Tait and his fellow finalists, Louise Goldin, Mary Katrantzou, Hermione de Paula, and Chau Har Lee, all share a penchant for craftsmanship, British Vogue‘s Alexandra Shulman, another judge, stressed that function was as critical as form when it came to picking a winner. “There is no point making precious objects that nobody can do anything with,” she said of the possibility of rewarding a collection for its sheer artistry. Tait, who trained with Montreal design darling Denis Gagnon, keeps a utilitarian edge to his careful cutting, creating a compelling tension between the body and the forms enveloping it. (In a nice bit of symmetry, Gagnon celebrated his ten-year anniversary yesterday with an exhibition at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.) Juror Yasmin LeBon was particularly gushy over Tait’s work: “It is gorgeous and brilliant to wear,” she said definitively. “I want more.”

Photo: Ian Gavan / Getty Images

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