If it was acceptable in the eighties then it was acceptable on Patrick Grant’s A/W 16 runway for E.Tautz. There’s always an inherent nostalgia to Grant’s work - he is, after all, trying to promote Savile Row, a nucleus of tradition, routine and techniques that span generations, within the increasingly fast fashion context of high fashion. But rather than referencing military garb or some peak decade for menswear innovation, Grant was reminiscing and feeling introspective.
Countless designers mine their youth for inspiration, rehashing situations, concerts, events, and interactions through their collections and fashion shows. Many rewrite history - creating the boy they always wished they could have been. Hedi Slimane lives vicariously through his grungy rock ’n’ roll outsider. Jun Takahashi transports himself to Television gigs and other punk hangouts in the 1970s. Grant simply wants to be the coolest kid at Coasters roller disco at Tollcross. It was the boys who could do the tricks and get the girls, and their thrown together uniform of Gabicci and Gallini jumpers that informed this collection. Envy - it’s a powerful thing in fashion. Grant remembered most kids being clad in St Michael, jealously eyeing the wardrobes of the more stylish, hip gang. Each generation has their own version of a coveted suede-stripe jumper - for some it’s as retrospectively cringe as a Jack Wills hoodie, for others it’s an Hermes Birkin. That belief that purchasing just one item will turn you from zero to hero - that parting with your card can change who you are - is the most important force in fashion. It’s what keeps the industry turning and moving. Will this collection inspire such emotions? Perhaps. Those signature roomy trousers and the jackets and coats with retro, voluminous shoulders will certainly have shop floor appeal to the man walking down Duke Street. Plus, with a story so heart-warming, one couldn’t help but feel fond of this collection. But, maybe the tale was too personal - one felt that some of that teenage desire and that youthful roller-coaster of emotions had got lost as the clothes were stitched. Still, no matter, these clothes work with or without narrative.