There are plenty of reasons why we're watching Canadian-born up-and-comer Thomas Tait very closely indeed.
He's the youngest ever graduate of Central Saint Martins' punishing MA course. He won the Dorchester Fashion Prize. Cathy Horyn and Zaha Hadid rate him. And tonight, we can add another: he took a catwalk slot that not only impinged on Saturday night party time but also conflicted with Rihanna's River Island show
, and he packed out the venue like an absolute pro.
Said venue was the rather grandly named Carlton House Terrace Garages, a cavernous (not to mention chilly) space buried just off The Mall. The show was running around 30 minutes late when a rainbow of lights rippled across the concrete ceiling and the first model began the agonisingly long descent down the catwalk. The crowd erupted into cheers. Many on the back row of the metal bleachers stood up onto their seats for a better view.
For autumn/winter 2013, Tait builds upon the easy luxury of spring/summer 2013. The sci-fi influences are still there, although a sportswear theme is more overt, and separates come to the fore. The crux of the collection is - pardon the pun - out-of-this-world puffa jackets, cut close to the body in some parts (a skinny sleeve; a snug shoulder) and ballooning out from it in others. Segmented lime nylon strips protruded from the back of a sporty cropped jacket, for example, and grey puffed portions stood away from the forearm on another piece like armwarmers.
Ultra-covetable also are the straight-up tailored pieces - long-line wool coats with a short, cape-like flourish to the back - and the slouchy trackpants and sweaters in head-to-toe navy or white, with black accents.
We’ll probably give the sheer tights, which showed off the model’s pants, a miss. Ditto one of the collection’s few dresses, a seemingly sedate wool number, which was slit to the nape of the neck like a hospital gown through the back.
But don’t get us wrong. Tait may be young, but he knows exactly what he’s doing. In fact, we forgot in our opener the most important reason why we're paying close attention to him: he makes really beautiful, really exciting clothes. Ones we actually want to buy, as well as cheer for.