Thursday, January 9, 2014

BEAUTY: Clothing--E. Tautz

The '14-'15 Fall-Winter E. Tautz collection at London Collections: Men really grew on me. At first glance, it was interesting enough, but as I digested each look, the more sense it all made. There is a fantastic progression of form, color, and pattern... and the fabrics alone are quite lovely. But ultimately, I love the evolution of the grey and black graphic lines (plus signs and right angles) into a warm palette. Then suddenly there is an introduction of a sumptuous silky jacquard along with rich patterns like paisley. And somehow, we end up with fascinating doodle-y embroidery on shirts, and finally, gloriously, on suits and coats. It's as though the rigidity of the graphics from the start of the collection is able to overcome itself, to transform itself, and to find a new softer, more authentic expression.

It turns out that the inspiration for E. Tautz designer Patrick Grant was Hogarth's 18th-century illustrated story of a young man's rise and fall entitled "A Rake's Progress," as well as the subsequent Stravinsky opera of the same name. Tom Rakewell, the young man in the story, inherits a windfall but travels to London where he proceeds to spend all of his fortune on drink, food, prostitutes, and entertainment. This sort of crawl toward excess and a loosening of values is reflected in the escalation of color, pattern, and texture in the collection. And the icing on the cake of the collection, the embroidery, was actually commissioned by Grant. He had students from the Royal School of Needlework appliqué onto shirts, coats, and jackets flowers and scrawled, graffiti-like words from Auden's libretto to the opera. It is interesting that what seemed to me to be a blossoming, an evolution toward a certain kind of freedom, is actually a story of a descent toward dissolution and madness...
Well, if this collection is madness, I say bring it!

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