LONDON, JANUARY 9, 2016
by LUKE LEITCH
When Patrick Grant went to a friend’s 1985-themed 30th birthday party recently, the birthday girl and her contemporaries were dressed as Madonna, Michael Jackson, and other icons of a year they were too young to remember. Grant, though, hails from an earlier vintage—he lived it—and was inspired to dig out some of his oldest clothes: “I couldn’t believe how comfortable and free they were to wear,” he said.
Which is why this E. Tautz collection presented Grant’s imagined ’80s as filtered via his label’s valiant mission to bring a Savile Row sensibility to seasonal fashion. There were plenty of recognizable tics from the time. Soft-shouldered, double-breasted wool trenchcoats in navy and gray featured tricep-tickling elongated epaulets. Black suit and black pocket shirt ensembles worn with clashing ties demanded reference to Gary Numan. A pullover top in a wool and nylon mix came with an off-kilter diagonal zipper at the neckline that Grant said was drawn from that reviled-in-retrospect garment, the shell suit (British English for the nylon paneled tracksuits of the ’80s and ’90s). There was a great deal of authentic, carefully observed billow above Grant’s high-waisted, single-pleat pants. It was nearly all perfectly lovely, which was perhaps the problem. Sylvester’s mighty 1984 release “Rock the Box” was featured on Grant’s soundtrack. Check it on YouTube for confirmation of just how queasy contemporary tastes really were. Grant is too much of an aesthete to go ugly—and these were fine clothes, indeed—but a flash or two of less filtered source material would have upped the impact of this collection.