Patrick Grant’s collections for E. Tautz are always rooted in days gone by, but his work is at its best when he foregoes ancient history in favour of the not too distant past. Living memory is good, the fondly familiar even better. Take his collection for A/W 17, which had echoes of the eighties, and a sense of ease that can sometimes be lacking in Tautz collections.
The show notes explained that Grant was inspired by scarecrows, or more accurately, by Peter Mitchell’s photographs of the inanimate inhabitants of Yorkshire fields. Compiled over forty years from 1976, and only shared with the public in the last few years, the images themselves are striking in composition and would look perfectly at home on the pages of a cutting edge style magazine, as would some of the ensembles in the frame. It is these to which Grant paid homage, praising them as 'wonderful, and ungainly, and they don't care much for the normal rules of style. They look at ease... Some are faintly sinister, some look drunk, some look oddly kind. They're all proud.'
That sense of pride came through in the most polished take on Worzel Gummidge that one could imagine. Loosely fitted shirts were worn open and layered over cotton jersey T-shirts or under cosy jumpers. Outerwear was strong - cagoules and hooded anoraks in light as air wools and dashing Crombies looked practical yet stylish. Suiting was mismatched and relaxed with high waists and pleat fronts.
Grant’s palette was earthy and natural with hues of charcoal, soil, wheat, khaki and mustard. The latter worked particularly well paired with rich indigo denim in seventies-inspired looks. That decade was hinted at in the styling too, with oversize NHS specs (actually Kirk Originals, and very chic), and fuzzy texture boucle knits rich with promise of the Good Life and rural idyll. Grant is known for his love of the outdoors as much as any metropolitan endeavour, but, rest assured, his take on the country squire is a far cry from the dreaded tweedy buffoon.