23 posts tagged "Thomas Tait"
Fifteen emerging designers, including Thomas Tait, J.W. Anderson, and Christopher Raeburn, were announced by the British Fashion Council today as winners of its NEWGEN sponsorship. The designers, who follow in the footsteps of alumni like Alexander McQueen, Jonathan Saunders, and Christopher Kane, will receive support from the Topshop-sponsored program to show at London fashion week in February 2012. They will also be a part of NEWGEN’s ten-year anniversary celebrations set for February. To see the full list of winners, visit the BFC’s Web site.
Some arena-playing rock bands travel less than young London’s designers. Those blessed by the British Fashion Council as part of the roving London Showrooms coterie have been on a whistle-stop world tour of late, hitting Paris, Hong Kong, L.A., and now, finally, New York, where they set up shop this morning to show their Spring wares to U.S.-based editors and buyers. To judge from the group assembled—including James Long, Thomas Tait, J.W. Anderson, Holly Fulton, Louise Gray, Marios Schwab, and milliner Nasir Mazhar—the journey may have tired them, but it didn’t dampen their enthusiasm. Almost every designer queried revealed he or she had picked up international stockists along the way; among the city’s reigning favorites, Long and Anderson drew the most attention, but even the youngest in the crowd can now boast increased U.S. visibility. Central Saint Martins grad Simone Rocha, who showed her first solo outing this Spring after a few seasons under the umbrella of Fashion East, now sells her vintage-lace dresses, fluoro tulle sheer layering skirts, and plastic raincoats at Opening Ceremony. Craig Lawrence, a 2011 NEWGEN winner who showed loose-weave knits and cropped, elasticized jumpers, is at several Henry Beguelin locations. Interested buyers were swarming, suggesting more reach is at hand for many present.
New categories and techniques were on display, too. Jeweler and sculptor Jordan Askill introduced pieces with ethical amethyst, sourced from a mine in Zambia, which he worked into silver pieces with his trademark swallows (below left). (A giant swallow cuff, which opened to reveal a hidden compartment, blurred the line between his two pursuits.) Also in the new collection were his first fine-jewelry pieces, with tiny diamonds surrounding a faceted, hand-carved swallow pendant. Holly Fulton had begun working with mother-of-pearl for accessories and real seashells for statement-making jackets; the trick, she confided, is finding shells of uniform shape. Tait, whose finely wrought, voluminous pieces suggest Couture shapes, had a surprising new footwear collaboration: a set of crisscrossed trainers he designed with Nike. (He was wearing a pair himself, as was a model; he had no plans to produce them, he revealed, but persistent interest on the part of buyers may change all that.) And Sibling’s Cozette McCreery was on hand to show off her knitwear label’s first official women’s line, Sister by Sibling. Women had been ordering small men’s sizes for so long, she said, that she and her co-designers, Sid Bryan and Joe Bates, decided finally to cut and knit for them. They were cropped neon and sequin leopard tops (left) and two complementary, sweatshirt-style sweaters emblazoned with the words LOVE and HATE. They’d sold, she said, about evenly, though she expected more interest in LOVE. Call it a knitted insight into the human race.
Cat-ear caps. Pompom pumps. Mink sunglasses. No doubt about it: ‘Tis the season of the out-there accessory. The latest designer to join the odder-is-better mix is Londoner Louise Gray, whose new collaborative jewelry line with Asos—under the umbrella of the e-tailer’s Asos Inc. incubator program—goes on sale this week.
Retailer/designer collaborations are a dime a dozen, but Asos sets its apart by allowing designers the opportunity to create categories that aren’t already part of their lines. Its first Asos Inc. designer, Thomas Tait, created his first bags; Gray used the chance to launch jewelry, which will also be styled into her upcoming show. Her pieces are all smiles—not to mention googly eyes.
“The jewelry I wanted to make was fun pieces that could be layered up or worn alone,” Gray told Style.com. “They have a carnival feel to them, like the duck whistle earrings, the large scale packets of fries, and the sun earring wearing sunglasses. They’re definitely for enjoying.”
The Gray pieces, which include pendants, earrings, studs, and even a working bell, are plated in 22-karat gold. They retail for between $60 and $295 on www.asos.com.
“It was time to go east,” said Jean Touitou, founder of cult label A.P.C, at his store launch last night in the heart of London’s East End. The shop is Touitou’s second in London. The first, in Mayfair, caters to a more, let’s say, polished crowd. “Shoreditch—it’s a different clientele and totally unique vibe, not just from the West End, but from anywhere in the world,” Touitou explained. “The timing seemed perfect to open up here as the brand has a lot of cool East End kids as fans.”
Judging by the huge crowd that spilled out on the street, his assessment seems to be spot on. Local fans no longer have to hightail it to Bond Street for their fix, and the retailer is only the latest addition to the Shoreditch scene; the boutique is located next to the Sunspel shop and ground zero of East End dining, Les Trois Garçons. This particular branch isn’t shop as much is it closet, a bijou space that is perfectly in keeping with the brand ethos of less-is-more. The small size had the faithful spilling out in the street, including designers Peter Pilotto, Thomas Tait, J.W. Anderson, and Husam El Odeh, as well as plenty of East End kids ready to spend their milk money. (Incidentally, everyone has to shell out at A.P.C.—even celebrity fans like Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Sofia Coppola, and Alexa Chung. “I don’t give celebrities any free items—it’s very democratic process; they come to the shops and buy the clothes like anyone else,” Touitou insisted. “I think as a business you are doing something right when you have famous people actually buy something, when they are normally used to getting stuff for free. Must mean something, non?”)
And where’s the next stop for A.P.C.’s world-domination mission? Maybe Touitou’s beloved India, the inspiration behind the Madras line he makes in collaboration with Jessica Ogden? “No, the timing for India is definitely not right. Indians are very focused on bling right now—they just don’t get this pared-down aesthetic.”
“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.