While some other designers chop and change each season, and often therefore experience peaks and troughs, Lou Dalton is a constant voice on the cluttered London menswear scene. Her clothes are useful to men’s wardrobes and lives, and cleverly built on and inspired by similarly useful items from the menswear history books - military wear, uniform and so on. Today it was life jackets, specifically those worn on the North Sea, that had struck her fancy. An essential item indeed. They’d been turned into gilets that felt just as practical as they did beautiful - the padding, a common if usually unremarkable feature on the menswear catwalks, had been rendered so carefully and with such consideration that these relatively simple garments shone, aided by some dusty, muted Shetland checks on the surface (the archipelago offered the starting point for the collection). Scottish weather seemed to be a particular influence - everything looked a little rain drenched and wind-swept, from lacquered jersey to the toasty teddy fleece and brushed wool. One sweatshirt came printed with a subtle fisherman’s net design - another nod to traditional, masculine essentials. Use - that’s what Dalton works around. Indeed, there’s nothing pointless or gimmicky on her runway - just hard-working clothes worth investing in.