Competition for a showing space for Menswear Day is fast becoming a struggle as competition is growing ever more fierce by the season. Lou Dalton narrowly missed out on a catwalk schedule spot but Fashion East stepped in and asked her to present her latest offering alongside their Menswear Installations. The runways loss is our gain because the presentation format allowed far greater opportunity to study the designs up close. In this environment it was impossible not to marvel at her rebellious tailoring and Fair Isle knits...
A trip to Skye inspired Lou Dalton's AW10 collection. Its rugged landscape, turbulent weather and it's rich history. Dalton wanted to capture the spirit and passion of the Jacobite Rebellion in particular. Those well versed in the history of the British Isles should be familiar with this series of uprisings, rebellions, and wars which occurred between 1688 and 1746. Dalton was particularly taken with the romanticised lullaby of Flora MacDonald's aiding of 'Bonnie Prince Charlie' in 1745. The aesthetic created here comprises a number of key pieces, each with their own identity, come together to form a unity as strong as though they were each a Clan at Culloden Moor. The muted tartans are a nod to those rebellious to the subsequent ban on highland dress and Fair Isle knits celebrate the earthy palette of the Scottish West Coast Glens while a punkish and defiant attitude runs through the collection.
Inspired by the troubled past of the region, the colour palette echoes the tones of rich ember, charcoal and heather mixed with black through to decadent shades of midnight blue while the wild sense of rebellion bleeds through with the use of silver lurex, faux fur fair isles and silk tartans. As always with this exciting design talent, knitwear is a key facet of the collection. This season bobble lambs wool knits and textured fair isle sweaters sit alongside luxury loop knit crews and tartan jacquards in tone on tone wool Alpaca.
Dalton continued to practice and hone her signature of rebellious English sportswear with a strong sense of detail and this was no more apparent than in the tailoring pieces which experimented with punkish elements, exposed zip detail in particular featured heavily.
Despite the obvious aesthetic impact of the tartan and fair isle knits, the real highlight look for me personally is the subtle yet richly textured and protective ensemble below. It captures the spirit of the collection perfectly. I could definitely see myself being a little rebellious in the quilted waist coast, exposed zip trousers and quilted waistcoat.
Just this morning I discovered that Dalton has collaborated with one of my favourite image makers, Laurence Ellis to create a film which explores the collections emotional journey quite beautifully (the film can be viewed over on Another). This collection was one of the real highlights of Menswear Day and I hope the designer continues to battle for her platform to show her collections for many seasons to come.