Shala Monroque On Thomas Tait: “A Cross Between Celine And Vintage Balenciaga”
“Those outfits would have been great for someone for the Met ball,” Shala Monroque said as she eyed Thomas Tait’s collection, which stood on display last night at the Palace Hotel. “It feels like a cross between Celine and vintage Balenciaga.”
Tait won the first Dorchester Collection Fashion Prize last year, awarded by a panel that included Manolo Blahnik, Stephen Jones, and Daphne Guinness. Monroque—who we wouldn’t be surprised to see stepping out in one of Tait’s two-tone multi-pleated leather skirts—is one of the judges for this year’s competition. Joining her on the panel (and at last night’s event) were some of her fellow jurors, Giovanna Battaglia, Francisco Costa, Thom Browne, and Derek Blasberg.
The designer who takes the prize this year has a lot to live up to. Tait’s modern, sleek aesthetic was the talk of the evening, inviting comparisons with designers like Costa. The Calvin Klein Collection creative director himself admitted as much. “I am so very impressed and excited by such young talent,” Costa marveled. “You don’t see this often.”
Canadian-born Tait remained modest. “I just want to be happy and keep my hands in the work that I’m doing as I expand my business,” he said, sipping the namesake cocktail Belvedere created for the occasion, an electric blue blueberry concoction. Expanding is what he’s doing, both with his own collection and a new leather capsule range with retailer ASOS. “It’s nice to be reaching an audience that might be familiar with my work, but they might not be able to afford it,” he told Style.com.