Hailing from the area of Shropshire, Lou Dalton is carefully designing her dream boy. She studied at the Royal College of Art, worked for Hamish Morrow, Stone Island and Charlie Allen and is now considered one of the hottest designers. Toys for boys with a magic touch.
-You are currently tagged as one of the best English menswear designers. Do you feel comfortable with this title?
I feel I have a long way to go… way before I can be worthy of such a title. I work hard and will continue to do so until I have developed Lou Dalton to its true potential.
-How is it for a woman to design clothes for men?
From an early age I have been surrounded by Menswear, so for me it just feels like the most natural thing to do.
-You have gained recognition for your rebellious ‘English’ sportswear. Would you say that this style is your trademark?
I am partial to traditional sporting pursuits like Shooting, Fishing and Hunting, not necessarily the sport but the attire often associated with these. Like most designers inspiration comes from many things, the casual element to the collection may well be inspired by the above however, putting a slight spin on it, is what has been often interpreted as ‘Rebellious’.
-You launched your brand five years ago… are things going for you the way you have dreamt of when you first started?
My Business did start five years ago however; the Lou Dalton label came into fruition late 2008. After being ill advised by various people including sales agents for quite some time, I finally feel like I am actually getting somewhere, it’s not been easy and it is one big roller-coaster, up’s and down’s all the way. I’ll probably never be satisfied, as I was often told at school, ‘you can do better’. When I was a kid it seemed such a glamorous industry, no such luck…
-Renewed military style, new cuts of suits and velvet are some of the men’s trends for autumn/winter 2010-11. Would you say knits are your main suggestion?
I do think the knitwear offer from the collection this season is strong. However, we do have a fabulous Pea coat with a velvet cord collar. I also feel that our wool zip jacket and trouser also ticks all the right boxes for the season.
Nomad style has been very famous lately… earthy colours, patchwork pieces, ethnic style, the essence of travelling. Is that what goes through your SS 11 collection?
-The SS11 collection is inspired by the Nomadic lifestyle, I had just re-read the ultimate classic ‘Wuthering Heights’. Heathcliffe, the main male character, started life out on the streets… I build up an image in my mind of these colourful characters and how they could develop through into the Lou Dalton world of desirable clothes. I am also moved somewhat by achieving the impossible, when the whole world seems against you, and you rise above it all, to become the best.
-Name me an album, a movie that has inspired your work.
Album: Van Lear Rose by Loretta Lynn, produced and arranged by Jack White. Film: Breaking Away (1979) starring Dennis Quaid.
-You have a diffusion line for Topshop and a collaboration with Rodnik. Could you tell me a few things about both of them?
When I first started out on the idea of producing my own Menswear collection it was originally called Lou D, at this time I was offered the opportunity to work with TOPMAN on the LENS project, a small capsule collection that developed between the label Lou D & TOPMAN. If I was to do this now with Lou Dalton the aesthetic would be very different, similar to that of Lou Dalton. Regarding Rodnik, I was asked to consult the Rodnik boys on the knitwear side of their collection, such colourful characters, such a shame they called it a day on their label.
-Tell me a few advices for somebody who wants to dress up cheap and chic.
Keep it simple with shape and form, when money is an issue, look for something slightly cleaner in line and finish, this can often make the item look more expensive than it actually is, accessorise this piece with colourful exciting accessories, possibly a vintage scarf, brooch, badge etc. For SS11 we covered old bike chains with strips of African printed fabric, we also produced hand beaded wool felt personalised badges, when worn on the mass they looked fantastic.
-Have you considered doing a women’s collection?
No, it is sooooooo not on my radar, I still have so much to achieve with my day job ‘Menswear’.
Photos: Nikolas Ventourakis | Styling: Oliver Arlt Clothes: Lou Dalton S/S 2011 | Model: Jack Lyons (Select Models)
Text: Eleftheria Ioannidou | Link: LouDalton.com