A welcome disruption of the way we experience a show. This might have been Thomas Tait’s highly anticipated first collection since winning the LVMH prize, but for him it was an opportunity to pull his audience into a new realm and truly contextualise his references. Working with Georges Rousse, a visual artist who uses derelict buildings as his medium and paints on walls, Tait transformed his show into a living art space.
Shifting the way we ‘view’ fashion:
It was clear that Tait had a very clear agenda this season. Just a few weeks ago, editors were invited to view the space as Georges Rousse was putting the finishing touches to his work. It was here that Tait talked us through his thinking this season: “I work so hard on the clothes inside and out, and most of the time it does boil down to a straight up runway image and people only get a fraction of the story.” It seems to be a topical dilemma. In an age of live streams and Time-Lapse apps, a show experience and collection is usually reduced down to a very one-dimensional image. It’s interesting to think that Rousse is an artist that deals with the ephemeral. The only way his work ‘exists’ is through secondary documentation (usually in the form of photographic images). Tait’s decision to work with him this season, seemed to be more than just an aesthetic interest. In one of the rooms, Rousse had painted ‘Déchiré’ (translation: to tear up) onto the wall. It was only readable from one very specific vantage point, forcing the audience to engage with the space to truly experience it. “I like the idea that all of these guests will be sat amongst the work, not really getting a clear idea of what they are meant to be looking at and then discovering something later on in the process when they see it online or back at the office,” he explained. It was a great concept and a welcome break from the force-fed runway shows we’ve become accustomed to.
Go hard or go home:
If the inclusion of Georges Rousse’s work wasn’t enough, Tait enlisted the skills of ‘Riton’ Henry Smithson to soundtrack his collection. It was hard, heavy and hyped-up, forming the perfect backdrop to a collection that drew on the feeling of the alien. Transparent dresses were worn with metallic stilettos that morphed into nude tights, and ran alongside block coloured leather jackets with only one sleeve.