The 7th of January 2017 was a turning point for Lou Dalton Menswear. With the aftermath of the referendum hitting retail hard, it was time to take stock and rethink how to move forward with the business. Looking to move away from the catwalk we were on the lookout for a location that would allow us to present the AW17 collection for Lou Dalton, along with a film we were producing starring the talented actor Russell Tovey.
The location of the venue was incredibly important. It needed to be central, easily accessible and big enough to hold a trail of more than 500 people for 1-2 hours on a cold grey Saturday morning.
No. 2 St James's Market is a brilliant space, at the time of the presentation it was sitting empty, almost like a scene out of the Mike Leigh film, Naked, where a lonesome security guard walks aimlessly through the empty floors of an unused office block. It was incredibly overwhelming.
Once we carried out a recce of the venue it became clear it was also the right location for the film. The light airy space with its stark surrounding was ideal for our concept for Autumn/Winter ’17.
On the morning of 20 December, the Lou Dalton team ascended to the 7th floor of No. 2 St James’s Market to shoot the campaign. The results as you can see from the film are outstanding, the incredible light and external landscape bring both the film and the collection to life.
Having made the decision to hold a presentation instead of the catwalk, on 7 January we presented 12 models sitting and standing against the backdrop of the London landscape in the very same place at No. 2 St James’s Market. With this outstanding backdrop and the ease of the presentation, it encouraged all those that attended to get up close, to take in each of the garments and the engineering behind them.
A change is as good as a rest they say, and this change in direction for the Lou Dalton brand was very much the right step forward.
Until now I had not really taken that much notice of St James’s other than popping in to John Smedley and Church's, two of Lou Dalton's go-to’s, but with Dover St Market taking up residence on Haymarket, the fashionable drawl has started to descend.
St James's Market is a great public space with a sprawling eclectic mix of retail and restaurants that I see growing in strength as the year progresses. Today's consumer wants a little of everything: the ability to window-shop while picking up their morning coffee or popping out for lunch. St James's has it all and to have been given the opportunity to be part of that, if only briefly, was fantastic.
The response to both the presentation and the film has been outstanding. We have a great deal to live up to next season, and I hope such an opportunity will come our way in the near future to work with such a vibrant, forward thinking, innovative development as St James’s Market...
Watch this space.