Relative outsider Thomas Tait beat more established nominees, Louise Goldin, Mary Katrantzou, Chau Har Lee and Hermione de Paula to scoop the 2010 Dorchester Collection Fashion Prize last night, in an awards ceremony at The Dorchester hotel in London.
The 22-year-old fashion designer won a career-changing £25,000 grant, which will go towards creating his next collection, and was also awarded accommodation and a show at a Dorchester Collection hotel of his choice.
Before the announcement, the nominees were each given a chance to showcase a selection of four of their designs in a catwalk show and presentation. Presided over by chairperson Bronwyn Cosgrave, the panel of judges - which included Manolo Blahnik, Giles Deacon, Daphne Guinness, Stephen Jones and Elizabeth Saltzman - then deliberated on each nominee, before singling out Tait for his minimalist couture approach to tailoring and the commercial potential of his work. Tait also won on the basis that his chosen designs demonstrated the luxury, style and craftsmanship that reflected the overall feel of the Dorchester Collection.
In its inaugural year, the Dorchester Collection Fashion Prize was brought about with an aim to cultivate next generation's fashion talent, while allowing the hotel group to contribute back to and build links with the fashion community.
Tait was educated in Montreal and London and is the youngest ever student to complete a Central Saint Martins' womenswear MA degree. Speaking of why he chose to submit the pieces he did, the young designer explained there was no real theme or concept. The selection that followed - four womenswear components that took shape in the form of the trouser, the dress, the jacket and the top - was simple and direct, and one that proved to be the winning formula.