Any review of E. Taut’z most recent menswear collections needs to start by acknowledging that it is virtually impossible to differentiate between Patrick Grant, the man, and E. Tautz, the label.
Since becoming director of E. Tautz in January 2009, Grant has instilled the brand with an image of sophisticated masculinity (albeit of a nostalgically conservative kind) by associating it with his suave looks and debonair style. This alliance has been conducted in a clever way that has raised the commercial profile of the company while garnering favourable reviews by fashion critics, not to mention a large number of praising comments where comparisons between Grant and Tom Ford are not infrequent.
Patrick Grant, who hails from Edinburgh, studied Materials Science and Engineering at Leeds University before embarking on a career in marketing that included obtaining an MBA from Oxford University in 2004. In addition to his work with E. Tautz, he has been running the Savile Row bespoke tailoring house Norton & Sons since December 2005.
The original E. Tautz company was founded in 1867 in London’s Oxford Street by Edward Tautz, head pattern cutter at Hammond & Co and tailor to numerous England’s gentlemen (including Edward VII). In 1875, as Edward brought his son Frederick George Tautz into the business, the firm changed its name to E. Tautz & Sons, and established itself as a thriving sartorial business that specialised in hunting and military attire. In 1878, the Times newspaper described the Tautz’s make “as easily recognized by a connoisseur as the best brand of claret or the choicest Havanna.” In 1968, the label was acquired by Norton & Sons and, under Patrick Grant’s creative direction, went on to win the Menswear Designer award at the British Fashion Awards in 2010. Unlike Norton & Sons, that has its firm place in Savile Row, E. Tautz can only be found in select retailers in Japan, Korea, UK, and USA.
For Autumn/Winter 2012, while being inspired by artist Richard Serra’s heavy graphite sculptures, Grant also kept in mind Savile Row’s cutting reputable heritage to evoke, once again, E. Tautz’s erstwhile sporting and military traditions. The garments include single and double-breasted jackets and overcoats with elegant and discreet shoulder lines and suppressed waists to create well-proportioned and well-balanced silhouettes. The overall seemingly simple cutting is paired with bold accents of colour (in the form of vibrant reds and dark blues) and with patterns (such as big checks and stripes) where scale and texture are paramount to establish a contrast with black and sober shades of grey.
Shirts come in cotton poplin and oxford variations, and trousers are made of fine wool or wool mixed with cashmere. The collection’s outerwear comprises tweed or fine wool jackets, anoraks, and duffel and polo coats; whereas accessories such as fur felt distressed fedoras and lambswool and cashmere scarves add further touches of luxury.