My friend Amy Liptrot is a supremely talented writer, having just had her first book published, ‘The Outrun’, a memoir of her time living on Orkney whilst overcoming addiction. So evocative is her writing, swimming in an inky ocean barely lit by daybreak, lambing season, the extremes of the landscape, that I’m finding it hard to disassociate it with Lou Dalton’s Autumn/Winter 2016 collection, apparently inspired by Orkney’s Northern Isles cousin, Shetland.
In another designer’s hands this influence would possibly end up as the sort of hunting, shooting and fishing drag that gets thrown out regularly by middle-market menswear brands, but Dalton’s offering has an honesty and integrity; collaborations with storied cordwainer Grenson, and knitwear specialist John Smedley adding to the authenticity.
As with fellow London menswear designer Matthew Miller, Dalton prefers to whisper rather than scream her technicality, so necks are slashed, shoulders are dropped and proportions played with in such a subtle manner that her men look simultaneously familiar yet larger-than-life.
There are other hints of island life; the fishing net knits, earthy plaids, prints lifted from the sprayed marking on sheep, and the weatherbeaten leather. As advertisements for the Shetlands go, it’s an alluring one.
Review written by Lee Clatworthy (@bombfashion) for www.katiechutzpah.com