Few people embody the contemporary spirit of Savile Row in quite the same manner as Patrick Grant, a designer who upholds the renowned heritage of British tailoring while at the same time embracing innovation and modernity.
"I think it is important that we keep [innovating] not just the base fabrics but the treatments themselves … the way you can over print them."
Case in point is E. Tautz, the label he acquired in 2005. When it came into his possession, E. Tautz was a name with a long and proud history (it was founded in London's West End by Edward Tautz in 1867) that had been neglected and left to languish into obscurity.
Fast forward a few years and the brand which one time boasted Winston Churchill as a customer was reborn by Grant with the help of collaborations with some of the UK's hottest designers including Giles Deacon, Richard Nicoll, Christopher Kane and Kim Jones who would soon go on to become men’s studio director for Louis Vuitton.
With the spring 2014 collection shown at London Collections: Men, the E. Kautz aesthetic confidently straddled the past with an eye firmly on the future.
The first step in creating the collection was to work with luxury textile mill Bower Roebuck to source high-end fabrics worthy of the brand.
"We'll keep working to develop new ways of bringing wool into these beautiful lightweight fashion garments that we've produced."
"We started by going through their archive and we actually went all the way back to the very early 1900s," says Grant.
The use of Cool Wool, a light, summer weight Merino wool, allowed Grant the flexibility to experiment with print and colour. Those classic patterns, rendered in muted, lackluster tones, were reborn with a vivid palette of ultra-bright shades of acid yellow, lime green and electric blue.
Introducing a small element of synthetic yarn brings sparkle to many of the tailored fabrics, a key part of the collection. Cool Wool also permitted over printing, taking a macro pattern from a butterfly wing and engineering it into something fresh for the season.
"Those were two main woollen innovations that we did in the collection," says Grant. "I think it’s important to keep pushing the textile developments."
In the same way that Grant has helped redefine the E. Tautz brand identity, he is also interested in pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved with wool, from the weave of the textile itself to the effects and treatments that can be performed with it to alter the way it looks.
"The reason we've used Cool Wool is simply because when you are tailoring clothes there is no better material, nothing that has been invented by man that does a better job," he says. "In fact, nothing comes close."