Entering into the minimalist aesthetic of the foyer of St James’ Market and being whisked up in a lift to the rooftops of London for Lou Dalton’s AW17 presentation was a fashion week first for me. In my experience, fashion seems to favour street level; industrial carparks, sultry underground dancefloors or tiny tucked-away rooms, where everyone clamours to see the scene. As the lift doors opened, revealing another bare, brand-spanking new space, only a disco beat indicated that there was an event happening somewhere in the building. But of course, as I followed the sound of the eighties soundtrack around two corners of the open-plan floor, I remembered that Lou Dalton needs no dramatics – her clothes do all the talking.
One of the few female designers in a menswear world, Lou Dalton’s shows have become a firm favourite of the LFWM schedule, mixing fashion with function in the best way. And her AW17 collection is no exception – the vibe was distinctly chilled, with models lounging around on boxes, instantly showing that the clothes were as comfortable as they were eye-catching.
Designs were simple – loose trousers and shorts, relaxed jumpers and classic trainers. Colours, too, were taken from that classic autumnal palette, with navy paired with tan in colour block patterns, along with warm whites and creams. Flashes of rainbow shades kept us on our toes though, appearing through scarves, shoes and occasionally whole suits against the soft white walls.
Texture is where Lou Dalton really struts her stuff – I’m yet to see an AW menswear collection from her that I don’t instantly want to steal for my own winter wardrobe – and next season, that means fleecy soft jumpers and bobbled knitwear.
As I called the lift to take me back down to earth, I couldn't help but admire the atmosphere that Lou Dalton's clothing creates – it's relaxed and calming, and at the same time looks so damn good. If there's a secret to designing menswear, she certainly knows it, and it keeps us coming back for more.