Lou Dalton's menswear collection for spring/summer 2012, shown on 21 September 2011 at London Fashion Week, proved to be one of the most successful and balanced collections of a day reserved exclusively for men's fashion. Dalton's range of garments was highly accomplished and well-edited, and grabbed the attention of viewers from the moment the first model entered the runway depicting opposing influences that were effectively resolved throughout the show.
Dalton claimed that the collection found inspiration mostly in two seemingly contrasting sources: the harshness and desperation of the 1984 miners' strike in the UK, and Matthew Bourne's menacing male ensemble in Swan Lake. Even though it became quite hard to identify where the inspirations from the former theme materialised, the contrasts from the latter were clearly evident in the successful colour and material combinations chosen, as well as in the distressed white denim shorts and jackets that evoked the texture and look of swan feathers.
The colour palette carried the influences chosen: black, white, navy, salmon and cream were combined with flashes of emerald green. Conversely, some pieces were more subtle in their inspiration from colliery and countryside attire, including detailing from donkey, bomber, and hunting jackets such as shoulder and sleeve panelling.
The garments continued to play the notion of combined opposites by blending hard-wearing denim and Macintosh with delicate silk, cotton voile, cotton anglais, and sequined fabrics, and by contrasting garments such as blazers with patchwork or trim detailing with cargo shorts.
A graduate from London's Royal College of Art, Dalton has previously worked for Hamish Morrow, Stone Island, Crucianni Knitwear and Charlie Allen. Her spring/summer 2012 collection undoubtedly cemented her position as one of the most promising voices in menswear that the British capital has produced over the last few years.
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