Lou Dalton, brooding underdogs inspire a perfectly edited collection
It’s reached that point in the week after the menswear shows when reportage needs to switch over into analysis. As atmospheric as the shows can be, at some point it’s necessary to start to filter, retaining only the really memorable and striking. Which makes it an ideal moment to talk about Lou Dalton‘s collection for Spring/Summer 13. This was a perfectly edited collection: simple shapes, a handful of great colours and materials, no fuss, no ephemeral fluff or unnecessary detail. Which feels exactly right for menswear. As Lou hinted at in our pre-collection interview a couple of weeks ago, the collection was inspired by the underdog. This struck me as a continuing theme in Lou’s work; in previous collections we’ve seen looks inspired by Romany cardsharks and by young men piecing together a future in a shifting, post-War world. I was delighted to see that re-watching seminal American movies like Taxi Driver had sparked the initial idea for the collection, Travis Bickle being one sartorial hero I’ve already spent time with.
One of the best things about the London Collections: Men this time around was the immediacy of being able to see the collection within the same building, almost immediately after the show. This is the real test, and I was immediately drawn to some of the key shapes and fabrics in this great, pared-back collection by Lou.
The pieces incorporating sports mesh (Aertex I was informed) immediately appealed, and with my shopping head on, the grey shorts are the one piece I would place on order for SS13. Nicely tailored, in a great colour and with the functional benefit of that perforated material, this is one garment that genuinely fuses sportswear with tailoring. So often, designers attempt this fusion with neither element coming off well. Equally, the blazer with the mesh panels really works, the combination of navy and black is one that is becoming increasingly relevant. And to expand on colours for a moment, Lou’s collection really nailed the use of deeper less traditionally ‘summer’ colours as an emerging trend for SS13.
The next most striking element for me is the deep neckline, clearly inspired by the iconic American baseball jersey, here grounded by the use of that tight colour palette of navy and burgundy edging. This clean, open ‘Y’ neckline was also explored in a more pared back, utilitarian cotton, reminscent of the food/hospital industry worker scrubs Prada explored in SS11. With a pleasing heft, these strongly structured pieces would be great items for layering over long-sleeved T-shirt or a simple white shirt. I particularly loved the variation with the grey mesh panel towards the hem.
Finally, bringing in a luxury touch is the moire silk used on the varsity jackets, and the deep burgundy of the thigh-length rain mac, typically Lou Dalton in the simplicity of the cut and rich colour.
It’s a real pleasure to sit back and take another look at such a well considered collection, and I’m tempted to draw a comparison with the razor sharp cuts made by such legendary film editors as Thelma Schoonmaker (Wiki link if you’ve never heard of her). I’ll end here with a back-back images from the catwalk with my own shots from the rail at The BFC space. This wasn’t one of the showiest collections last weekend and is all the better for it. Cut!
So first, up those grey Aertex shorts:
Note the clever layering of the t-shirt hem below jacket, the pulled-up day socks and neon-splashed trainers.
And here they are up close so you can see the mesh of the fabric.
Here is a baseball top:
And on the rail, so you can see the bordeaux and black trim:
Shorts and baseball top together now:
Mesh panels in a tailored jacket. Note how the white undershirt peeks through the mesh at the side, emphasising the cooling factor.
And on the rail, the navy and black combination will be very strong in SS13:
Now for that twist on the open-necked overshirt with the mesh panel. Notice the slightly cropped hemline emphasising the boxy shape.
And the same shirt in all cotton..
On closer look, I love the strong seam running across at chest height, and the construction of the ‘Y’ neckline is really clever.
Finally, the moire panelled varsity jacket. Another great shape, I love the lack of ribbed hem at the waist.
At closer range, the moire panels are quite extraordinary: luxury sportswear!
Still here? The lovely Horsemeat Disco boys have promised the soundtrack to the show later today. Will post when I have it for the full Pantha Prince laced effect.