Lou Dalton Menswear Spring/Summer 2012

Lou Dalton’s range of men’s fashion for Spring/Summer 2012 was, without a doubt, one of the most successful and balanced menswear collections presented during London Fashion Week in September 2011. Dalton’s display of garments was highly accomplished and well-edited, and grabbed the attention of viewers from the moment the first model entered the runway with clothes that embodied the dynamic attempt to resolve contrasting influences, a theme that was very successfully portrayed as the show progressed.

Dalton claimed that the collection found inspiration in two seemingly opposing sources: the socio-economic harshness and emotional upheaval of the 1984 miners’ strike in the UK, and Matthew Bourne’s menacing male ensemble in Swan Lake. Even though it was hard, at times, to identify where the inspirations from the former theme materialised in the clothes, the contrasts from the latter were clearly evident in the colour and material combinations, as well as in the distressed white denim shorts and jackets that evoked the texture and look of swan feathers.

The colour palette for the collection carries the influences chosen, as black, white, navy, salmon and cream are combined with flashes of emerald green. Conversely, some pieces were more subtle in revealing how they were inspired by colliery and countryside attire, namely the outerwear pieces that incorporated details such as shoulder and sleeve panelling typical of donkey, bomber, and hunting jackets.

The fabrics chosen also play the notion of combined opposites by blending hard-wearing denim and Macintosh with delicate silk, cotton voile, cotton anglais, and sequined fabrics. In addition, original details stress the importance of dual worlds as sources of inspiration, namely in the patchwork applied to blazers or the trim detailing used in cargo shorts.

A graduate from London’s Royal College of Art, Lou Dalton worked for Hamish Morrow, Stone Island, Crucianni Knitwear, and Charlie Allen before setting up her eponymous label. With her current Spring/Summer 2012 collection she has taken one significant step forward in cementing her position as one of the most promising voices in menswear that the British capital has produced over the last few years.