The New Avant-Garde: Two Fashion Brands to Watch
The front lines of fashion are being drawn in Europe, where up-and-coming designers Thomas Tait and Vetements are making their mark.
Canadian designer Thomas Tait, 28, has been on an upward trajectory since trading his hometown of Montreal for London: In 2010, at 22, he became the youngest student ever to graduate from Central Saint Martins with a master’s degree in womenswear. The next February, he launched his self-named line out of London, and just three years later, in 2014, LVMH awarded him the inaugural Prize for Young Fashion Designers. Tait, who describes his aesthetic as “the glamorization of horror,” draws inspiration from touchstones like the 1990 satire Edward Scissorhands, artist Gregory Crewdson’s photographs of banal American life and the films of Italian director Dario Argento. The results are precisely executed designs with slightly surreal details, like oversize trouser cuffs or a leather jacket’s elongated sleeves from this fall’s collection, and even a print composed of blurry screen grabs from favorite Argento films.“I started the brand with absolutely no money and no idea what I was doing,” says Tait. “LVMH gave me hope about the future.”
Parisian label Vetements, the seven-person design collective led by 34-year-old Georgian designer Demna Gvasalia, has quickly gained momentum since launching last year. Gvasalia—who studied economics before graduating from Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts and designing for Louis Vuitton and Maison Margiela, where his six cohorts also worked—blends motifs from hip-hop, street culture and his own friends. “We work on clothing that people recognize,” says Gvasalia, whose collection is now sold in 80 stores. “Then we put it in a context of being modern so they see it in a new way.” For this fall, that means utilitarian uniforms that play with proportion and scale: cargo pants paired with bold-striped sweaters, and deliberately oversize trousers and suit jackets. “It’s a lot about attitude,” says Gvasalia. “The woman I dress is the ultimate designer of her clothes and her style.”
Vetements and Thomas Tait are exclusive to 4.
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