Keeping track of all those emerging designers swarming around these days sure is tough. How do you distinguish the quality work of a long distance runner from the fad, the novelty, the blip? Holding the clothes in hand, tracing the seams, examining the fit...in other words rigorously exploring the intricacies of construction and finish is one sure way of knowing whether you are getting your money's worth or not.
That is the key feature I've always admired in Thomas Tait's work. He'll be the first to say its a work-in-progress (If you haven't yet, you must read Cathy Horyn's excellent interview at On the Runway ) Yet what I like about Tait's work and the feature that I think will get him on the map of those luxury house head hunters, is the weight of what he does. Heavy one moment in an old school couture way (Shala Monroque was dead on when she described Tait's pieces as " A cross between Celine and vintage Balenciaga') and then tissue light the next, the self-authority with which this young designer is advancing his specific ideas of silhouette and form is completely compelling.
That Spring 12 collection that danced between sportswear and hard construction was a huge leap forward as a statement about versatility and an extended design vocabulary. The irony is, since first encountering Mr Tait 3 years ago, even before there was a collection , his very physicality was always about a specificity of line and silhouette. I like his slow, careful, quiet, modern message. He means to perfect that line, no matter how long it takes.