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E. Tautz & Propriety

Patrick Grant talks to Dazed Digital about the relaunch of E. Tautz and the inspirations behind the first two collections...

Patrick Grant, the man behind the resurgence of the 187 year old Savile Row firm of tailors, Norton & Sons, relaunched the storied house of E. Tautz as a ready-to-wear collection as part of the extended MAN afternoon back in February. Having dressed the pre war elite, from Churchill to Cary Grant, it is a label rooted in history and the past seamlessly runs through the collections. E. Tautz championed the notion of dressing properly and of men taking pride in what they wear. It adheres to the age old belief that how you dress reflects your respect for the event and for your host. Edward VII, a major inspiration for the first two offerings, said it best: "Be always well and suitably dressed for every conceivable occasion." Since its relaunch it has deservedly risen from strength-to-strength, S/S 10 sees the launch of its second ready to wear collection.

Dazed Digital: What drove you to resurrect the E. Tautz label?
Patrick Grant: We felt that there was nobody English creating beautiful, chic menswear. On Savile Row you have a dozen of the finest tailoring houses in the world but none of them had taken what they were doing in bespoke and turned it in to really genuinely beautiful ready to wear offer. We felt there was a desire for something handmade, beautifully cut, English clothes. Something which had English cloth at its heart, that had some substance and durability built in but also this beautifully chic aesthetic which people enjoy wearing but you just don't see in menswear collections. Simple tailoring with a little something added on top, a bit of pomp, a bit of colour. We are trying to create chic menswear but with a sense of humour, a sense of Englishness at its heart. I don't know why the English have avoided upscale menswear, I guess partly because Savile Row is here and is so good but by being here we know what it takes to produce something of that quality.

DD: Is it tricky balancing E Tautz with Norton&Sons?
Patrick Grant: Very specifically, Nortons is an English bespoke tailors, it is available in one store, it is all made on site, we make very few pieces a year, around 300 suits and cut a 1000 shirts and that's it. You have to come here to buy it and you have to wait for it. E. Tautz is a sporting and military outfitters, you are getting ready to wear clothes which are sold through other retailers, hopefully soon a handful of selective stores in the great cities of the world. Whilst being hand cut, handmade and made in the best cloths it will be available immediately and to all. Also, there is a different flavour, at Nortons it is simpler, more classical in its feel and in much more scarce supply.

DD: The label is rooted in history as this old sporting and military tailor dressed the Duke of Windsor, Churchill and America's pre-war elite and the past seamlessly runs through this quintessentially English collection. With so much history was it difficult to channel out a new future for the label?
Patrick Grant: We brought forward a  couple of things from old Tautz to new. Generally, the silhouette which we used to cut, we continue to cut. If you look at our double breasted suits for example, there is a definite shape to it and if you look at the overall trousers which we cut, it is very, very closely related to its predecessor, the original military overall from 1810. The other key thing is the Tautz lapel, worn by everyone from Cary Grant to Churchill and it is a very distinctive lapel. Wherever we do a double breasted lapel you will see that famous Tautz lapel.

DD: Can you talk use through some of your inspirations for your two collections?
Patrick Grant: Spring is easier to answer and it is still very much in my mind. The inspiration really came from a photograph of the Duke of Windsor getting off his boat in Mallorca. Actually, there are two photographs really. One where he is sitting cross legged wearing this beautiful Breton jumper and his ivory flannels rolled up and a pair of espadrilles. The other photograph was of him stepping on a boat with a pair of bagpipes, shorts and some espadrilles. The whole idea of that Englishman enjoying life on the Mediterranean in the summer is what flavoured the whole thing. When we were thinking about creating the collection we were thinking about what the English like to do in the Summer, they like to go to the med, sit on beaches and wear hankies on their heads (laughs). Those particular two images covered everything that we did. Last season it stared with us looking at a particular client, Edward VII, who we made breeches for and it was the wardrobe they would've worn. Very specifically a Sandringham wardrobe. The idea of substance in relatively muted colours but also throwing in splashes of brightness. For example, when he came back from shooting in his tweeds he would slip in to the tartan smoking jacket in the middle of the afternoon. With the tailoring and shape, but throw in some pattern and colour, a sense of fun that the English do really well.

DD: What are your favourite pieces from the collection?
Patrick Grant: I love the Breton, the double breasted suits are absolutely stunning. Well cut double breasted suits look fabulous.

DD: Where would you like E. Tautz to be in SS20?
Patrick Grant: At our heart we have great tailoring, British manufacturing and cloths. The firm we aspire to is something like Hermes, where you've got beautiful, in house production, where the sourcing and the manufacturing is controlled to such a beautiful quality that everything that leaves has a sort of stamp of excellence which is completely unparalleled. I would like our collection to grow a little but not to become enormous. I'd like to think that you could go to Rome, Paris, New York or Tokyo and find a small collection of E. Tautz along with a set of customers who buy in to it. We make stylish clothes and I think you can build a wardrobe from them. In ten years time I'd like to think that there are customers who have built a wardrobe of E Tautz, that allows them to dress beautifully every single day of the year, whatever the weather.