e. tautz spring/summer 16
The BFC/GQ Designer Menswear Fund winner's collection referenced the light, optimism and brightness of Britain emerging from post-war gloom in the 50s.
Looking fresh and tanned backstage, Patrick Grant discussed his collection and its basis in the return to leisure of 50s Britain. The designer's golden glow could have come from recently winning the BFC/GQ Designer Menswear Fun (and its £150,000), but was in fact from a weekend away on the Isle of Wight. So it seemed only right to find out where this collection's E. Tautz man would have holidayed in the post-war era. "Probably in Camber Sands, or one of those new camps that sprung up around Britain when we were emerging from the gloom of post-war rationing and misery and austerity," Grant explained, demonstrating his always impressive grasp of the social (and accompanying sartorial) changes to have swept the British Isles.
"The whole collection was supposed to be light, optimistic, bright and easy to wear. It was that new leisurewear. It feels like we're in the same thing right now: socially we're obviously emerging from the same period of austerity, but we're also emerging from an era in menswear when everything was a bit constricted and trousers were so tight that normal humans couldn't wear them. I think we want to breathe ease into clothes again. We've been doing a wider trouser silhouette for a few seasons now and we see people wearing it. That feeling of having your clothes dictate to you, I'm bored of. I want to inhabit them in a much easier way."
But whilst the E. Tautz man was moving away from the buttoned-up and the too-tight, the leisurewear still requires a good deal of discipline and no little precision: socks were pulled right up (when worn with shorts), trousers were neatly belted and although the shirts were loose-fitting, they were always perfectly pressed. Nonetheless, it's a steady easing of things, and hinting heavily at his next collection, Grant told i-D, "I remember the late 80s when it was super leisure, and maybe that's where we'll get back to - I sort of secretly quite hope that we do. We're thinking about next season, and this move to ease feels right to me."
Artist brothers Bruce and John McLean inspired the colours, prints and appliquéd jumpers. As well as plenty of navy and white, there was English mustard yellow and tomato ketchup red (condiments in the Camber Sands caffs perhaps?) and a lovely dusky pink ("Pink is a good men's colour. Sometimes it's a bit much, but this grayish pink really works and looks beautiful with navy blue.")
It'll be interesting to see what Grant does next, with his suggestion that he'll cover the '80s (his references have usually dwelled in the first half of the 20th century), with his award-won injection of cash and with the influential likes of the Minister for Culture, Ed Vaizey, buzzing around backstage. Like the societal mood he referenced in the show notes, it looks like his own label is undergoing a celebration of this renewed sense of the future.
Text Stuart Brumfitt
Photography Mitchell Sams