First to show, Lou Dalton is a designer who makes piece you want to wear. It's less a work of conceptual art, and more practical pieces created from a true expression of fun and a love of materiality. She’s also a recent collaborator with John Smedley and Jaeger.
In contrast to a Spring/Summer show that had a strong contingent of black, this show's a celebration of colour, along with a foundation of denim and crisp white in long shorts, loose trousers, and oversized jackets.
As ever her knitwear was simple yet sumptuous, in bold bifurcated pattern: orange/camel and navy. There are also some wonderful bobble-covered jumpers that elevate the simple grey jumper.
The real show-stopper though was the painted cotton canvas suit – a sort of muted rainbow in a crazy paving pattern. Pure joy.
This was all beautifully brought to life with a video showing actor Russell Tovey putting on and stripping off pieces of the collection in a never-ending backwards-forwards loop. The film was shot in the presentation space: the top floor of the striking new curvilinear building of No.2 St James’s Market.
There is a loose-ness and an ease, and an inherent positivity to the collection. Definitely an invigorating refresher for the start of 2017.
Always concept-led, this collection melded sportswear and outerwear genres – toggles, adjustable straps and waterproof materials – with something more futuristic.
With wet hair and lugging deflated blow-up beds and sleeping bags, Cottweiler’s models appear as a sort of urban camping troop.
With trees and shrubbery punctuating the hollowed out shell of a new restaurant unit, the collection – by duo Ben Cottrell and Matthew Dainty – seems to inhabit a time when the urban and the natural crossover into something more extreme.
Differing in style and aesthetic, these two British fashion houses share an interest and fascination with materials rooted in practicality no matter their eventual final expression. It’s a theme common too to St James’s, where items like Aquascutum’s invention of the trench coat or Barbour’s signature oil cloth are two local signatures.
What a wonderful – and wonderfully impressive – display of homegrown talent and scope of creativity. I wonder what LFWM will bring in June?