Lou Dalton is no doubt gazing ahead at the moment. Her label is well established now; it's a quiet tour de force in London and Dalton's got big, global ambitions for growth. So it's perhaps no surprise that her S/S 15 collection looked almost futuristic. The rugged vibe of A/W 14, with all its denim, knit and camo that screamed fun on the farm, had been cleaned up and polished. This offering was almost clinical - from those crisp full white tailored looks that opened the show to the minimal baseball shirts, a pared back, slick version of a Dalton signature. This wasn't about shrugging off her heritage - the classic Lou Britishisms came through in the familiar field jackets and classic checks - it was more about widening the Dalton scope to suit an international man and pull in new shoppers while placating existing ones. Dalton put its as, 'defining who we are as a brand, who I am as a designer, where we've come from, and where we are going now.'
The sense of looking to the future also came through in Dalton's focus on durability. These were pieces made to be worn in years to come, hence all the hardworking details like zips that transformed a Nylon trench into a gilet in seconds.
While Dalton usually likes to spin a good yarn - her shows tend to come with a poetic back story of boys in the military or men toiling on oil plants - this time it was the just the clothes that did the talking. And they screamed relevance and pragmatism. So while all the Lou stapes were there - great blazers, easy sweatshirts - this collection seems to nod generally and more than ever to what's going on in luxury menswear as a category. Familiar hits that are popping up elsewhere were present - from patterned it knit that are sure to sell well online to techy outerwear with strap tab details. That's not to say the collection was referential or copy cat, more that it showed Dalton is acutely aware of what's winning on the shop floor and seeks to dominate it herself.