It started not so well, and got much, much better. The beginning of Steven Tai’s runway show featured a curious video outlining the essential facts behind the young London-based designer’s appearance at Mercedes-Benz Fashion week Berlin: an urgent, newsreaderish voiceover, slight to fast to listen to comfortably, explained everything you needed to know about the Hyères festival in France, including the news that Mr Tai had won the coveted Chloe prize earlier this year. Then it was onto his collection.
And what a directional, avant-gardiste collection it was: models marched towards the camera put in a range of outlandish trousers with waistbands suspended in space around the body, some with jutting ruffles and stacked-pile fibres in creamy colours, whites, and electric blue. Rethinking how clothes – on the whole, trousers and jackets, though nothing that ever really resembled a suit – hang on the female form (or equally, separate themselves from it) seemed to be the genesis of Mr Tai’s sculptural vision. That’s not to say it was modernist to the point of lacking femininity: each of the uniform ally blonde models wore a pair of lens-less, gold frame glasses (the watching crowds were also gifted a pair in their goodie bags) which imparted sexy-studious air: the “hot librarian from the future” look, in essence.
The reaction from the rows – among the biggest Sleek heard all week – suggests that Tai’s ideas were well liked, and the crush around him and his team when he made the appearance after the show suggests this Central St Martins grad seems destined for big things indeed.