The designer said it all in the notes: “Sometimes only one arm is cold.” It was a lovely bit of British humor from Thomas Tait, the Canadian-born, London-educated designer whose edgy, conceptual show unfolded in a crumbling building on the Strand. Tait, the winner of the inaugural LVMH Young Fashion Designer Prize, took his cue from the works of Georges Rousse, the Paris-based visual artist who created a graphic, color-blocked installation in the gutted space, with its exposed wiring and little piles of rubble swept into corners. The lineup — filled with one-sleeve looks — offered up silhouettes both challenging and commercial. Backstage, the designer himself admitted that with all the cutouts, transparency, fluttery fabrics and knits, even fitting the clothes on the models was an adventure.
Among the more challenging silhouettes were leather checkerboard skirts — inspired by Rousse’s earlier works — whose panels appeared to hang together precariously, and that require a ballerinalike poise and grace to carry off. Ditto for the silk checkerboard dresses with their delicately fluttering panels — some of them peekaboo. That said, this was a joyous collection, and even the one-armers — such as a tomato pleated leather dress with one long sleeve and a jaunty pink-and-yellow one with a similar off-kilter construction — were eye-catching. More commercial offerings included double-faced silk-satin trousers the color of oyster shells, liquid silk-satin dresses and jackets with two crinkled sleeves.