A hidden touch
For Spring Summer 2015, Lou Dalton stuck to her tailored sportswear roots, sending out a precise procession of short suits and bomber jackets. The underlining narrative seen in previous collections, however, was deliberately missing; the man behind the clothes less obvious. Dalton went down a different path but stated her claim all the same. This season’s collection expressed refinement and control; two qualities just as appealing to the eyes of men.
Sharp yet untraditional tailoring complemented the lightweight zipped jackets and loose trousers that sauntered past in an array of sorbet shades. Pastel blue and salmon pink appearing alongside brighter corals and reds nodded to sunnier climes while ash grey and white offered a cooler vibe. Systematic and precise elements ran throughout from the symmetrically angled placed zips on outerwear to the perfectly accurate length of shorts, hardly an inch longer than her waterproofs. Necklines were primarily rounded though a few clean-cut V-neck – almost heart-shaped – tees emerged.
The devil was really in the details and her broad range of textures only exposed through close inspection. A camouflage-like print created by layering textured white patches onto a blazer of the same snowy hue revealed that Dalton’s man was looking for a little something more than simplicity.
Jacquard subtly played on traditional suit styles – the addition of silver zips guiding her designs in that familiar sporty direction. Merino knit, produced via Dalton’s partnership with The Woolmark Company, formed fitted jumpers; two displayed a monochrome “gestural abstraction” print available in vibrant red and blue. The only graphic elements of the collection, these prints also evoked Matisse’s block colour cut-outs.
A total of three accessory collaborations joined Dalton’s garments on the catwalk. Her relationship with footwear company, Grenson, turned out heavy work shoes with unexpected jagged soles reminiscent of those seen at recent womenswear shows. A team-up with Chapman resulted in navy ammunition bags altered by buckles and straps that will be available to buy next year. Sunglasses were the cherry on top. Collaborating with Ace and Tate, Dalton used memories of school science classes to come up with goggle-like eyewear framed by black and transparent resin.
Just as models’ eyes were protected from the light, so were their bodies. A mesh vest built like a soldier’s bulletproof one was laid over a sweater, defending the torso. This subverted military feel also came through fastened longline coats and slicked-back hair. Not one to be thrown off her sporty tendency, Dalton also riffed on baseball shirts and basketball shorts, smartening them into classic white shirts and tailored shorts.
Lou Dalton may not have won the BFC/GQ Designer Menswear Fund but she knows where her brand is headed. “It’s defining who we are as a brand, who I am as a designer, where we’ve come from, and where we are going,” she said.
With a sense of Britain still strong in her contemporary tailoring, Lou Dalton’s casual separates aim to please all, her sportswear hints reaching out to the millennial generation. Lou Dalton’s SS15 collection outward simplicity belies her garments’ detailed design. With increased exposure and a host of companies lining up to collaborate, the Lou Dalton label looks set to rise to the menswear forefront.