Monday, 6 January 2014

Lou Dalton Autumn/Winter 2014 menswear

Viewers who attended the fashion show that unveiled Lou Dalton’s Autumn/Winter 2014 menswear collection on 6 January 2014, the first day of London Collections: Men, would be excused for believing that what they witnessed was not a demonstration of fashion. On the surface, the succession of corduroy jackets and bleached denim pieces suggested that the collection was an incipient statement against fashion; however, on close examination and reflection, this was a range of garments that, as we learnt to expect from Dalton, unravels a very personal narrative of recent English sartorial (and, in many ways, societal) history.

Dalton described the collection as being inspired by the real working clothes worn by farmhands she remembers while growing up in the North of England: “This collection is very personal to me. It’s a man I know well.” If this inspiration could have remained on a very superficial level as evident in the choice of rough fabrics and faded colours, by juxtaposing garments of varied textures and cuts, the collection reveals Dalton at her best.

The reminiscence of the lives of others spent in the rugged outdoors or within the confines of bleak factories is suggested by jackets and trousers made from washed-out corduroy and cotton, matching bleached denim shirts and jeans, wool Fair Isle sweaters, camouflage print shirts and padded outerwear. However, Dalton is very clear that the past is a distant realm of recollection that is there to be reinterpreted; and in this sense, the rough edges of memory and of identity are made softer and decidedly sophisticated by the introduction of garments such as perfectly shaped merino wool crewneck sweaters, suede bomber jackets with detachable shearling collars, wool/cashmere mix oversized coats, double-breasted trench coats, cropped pea coats and suits made from delicate thin wool.

A range of high-lacing boots in oxblood and black developed in collaboration with Grenson, and a cap and a beanie hat made together with Bernstock Spiers added to a collection that drew from personal memories of the collective past to create a quizzically elegant vision of contemporary menswear.

Photographs courtesy of Lou Dalton

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