She’s the Man: What’s next from menswear designer Lou Dalton

Tuesday 24th June 2014, 17.08

 

 

 

British menswear designer Lou Dalton drops in for a chat about her forthcoming collections, style icons and what she has planned over the next few seasons for her label.

Menswear designer Lou Dalton's fashion show

Menswear designer Lou Dalton has just closed the curtain on her Spring/ Summer 2015 fashion show for the latest instalment of London Collections: Men. As one of the first LC:M designers Liberty chose to stock, we decided to throw a party in collaboration with Men’s Health in her honour. Check out the photos from the VIP event held in our menswear department in-store.

We caught up with Lou to find out what inspired next summer’s collection, where she sees her popular line of men’s fashion going and who her current style icons are right now.

Backstage at the SS15 Lou Dalton show

What’s the story behind your Spring/ Summer 2015 collection?
There was a great deal of change within Lou Dalton this season and this led to me taking a long hard look at where I was at, where I was going and where I wanted to go with the collection. It was about taking control, moving on.

Do you have a favourite piece or look from the collection?
This collection was so very personal that I felt an alliance to a great deal of what we put out. In time there may be one or two head runners, but currently I’m super happy with it all.

Where do you usually look for inspiration?
Anywhere and everywhere – from a gallery, a book I’ve read, music, friends, a night out…

What are the highlights for the upcoming Autumn/ Winter 2014 collection?
Being continuously supported by Liberty for AW14, the bleached denim went down a storm..

Your designs are highly praised within the industry and amongst style conscious gentlemen. How much do you think about the core Lou Dalton customer during your design process?
Its constantly on my mind, I came into this to make beautiful clothes that men would hopefully enjoy wearing. Good sale through is incredibly important and integral to the growth of our business.

Design sketches from the Lou Dalton SS15 collection

What can we expect from Lou Dalton over the next three seasons?
Upwards and onwards is the order of the day! I just try to stay focused with working towards growing the business.

How would you like the label to develop?
Increase in sales with a growing customer base coming on board, and more investment.

Which designers are you looking forward to seeing this season?
Craig Green, Christopher Shannon, James Long, and Sibling.

Who is currently your style icon?
I have a few: Alan Bennett, David Hockney, David Bowie, Vincent Cassell, the usual suspects…

What do you love about Liberty?
It’s the ultimate department store, incredibly decadent and, of course its amazing taste as they stock “Lou Dalton”…

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Lou Dalton and Men’s Health Party at Liberty for LCM

Tuesday 17th June 2014, 16.05

 

 

Liberty and Men’s Health celebrate LCM and menswear designer Lou Dalton with a party in her honour.

Last night Liberty’s menswear department was cleared of all it’s stylish wares and transformed into a cool basement bar, complete with DJ, in honour of the London Collections: MEN shows and menswear designer Lou Dalton. Teaming up with Men’s Health, the party was thrown in celebration of Miss Dalton and her long standing relationship with the store – being the first LCM designer Liberty chose to sell and has done for the past four years.

Lou Dalton worked with Liberty to dress the party space using elements from her Spring/ Summer 2015 collection, including illustrations by Alex Walker and Lou’s unofficial ‘Charm charm charm’ mantra which decorated balloons.

Guests included Olympic boxer Luke Campbell, Jesse Metcalfe, Princess Julia, LCM designer James Long, editor of Man About Town Ben Reardon, creative director of Wallpaper Ben Jarvis, and LCM panel member and esteemed journalist Charlie Porter. Music for the evening was provided by Horse Meat Disco DJ Jim Stanton – fresh from mixing Lou’s catwalk soundtrack. Mr Stanton’s selection had everyone dancing with abandon throughout the night as they sipped on specially blended negronis by Campari and Reyka Vodka tonics with grapefruit.

Read our interview with Lou Dalton on her upcoming collections, inspirations and style icons.

 

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Levi’s Made & Crafted At Liberty: An Interview with Design Director Miles Johnson

Thursday 28th November 2013, 11.43

To celebrate the launch of Levi’s Made & Crafted we caught up with the label’s Design Director Miles Johnson to find out more about the brand’s autumn/winter 2013 collection of high end denim and casualwear.

 

Tell us about the autumn/winter 2013 menswear collection.
Before designing the autumn/winter 2013 collection we took a road trip to Lake Huron, a drive north of busy, industrial Detroit. We were inspired by their lakeside surroundings – the colours of the lake, the rocks, the structures in constant repair—and the varied textures of the traditional woollen and cotton fabrics one needs to live in this landscape. The resulting collection draws many of its colours, prints, patterns and fabric concepts from the elements the designers encountered on this quiet American adventure. At the same time, it pulls in a myriad of other influences from the modern American frontier and playfully combines the old with the new, the high with the low, and the wild with the subdued. Finely woven yarn-dyed knits are crafted into casual T-shirts for men. Silks are blended with cottons to create soft but durable tops for women. Natural indigo is used to dye winter-weight fabrics. Many of the women’s silhouettes radically challenge the conventions of proportion and symmetry. Performance-enhancing fabric technologies make an appearance but remain invisible. This Levi’s Made and Crafted collection, like those past and those to come, dares to go where the Levi’s brand has never been before, offering up a fresh new take on modern American luxury Levi’s style.

Could you tell us about the difference between Levi’s Vintage Clothing, Levi’s Red Tab and Levi’s Made & Crafted?
Levi’s Vintage Clothing celebrates our history by reproducing of some of our favourite garments, looking back through 140 years of archival clothing. Levi’s Red Tab is for everyone and is now very accessible. Levi’s Made and Crafted is more directional and experimental with fabrications while retaining a strong Levi’s character. There are four things that Levi’s Made and Crafted is famous for:

1. Using only the finest materials and fabrics: we develop the most interesting fabrics with the best mills from around the world
2. Crafting with care: every garment is cut, sewn and finished using the best methods available
3. Obsessing over the details: we obsess about the little things because they make a big difference
4. Indigo and denim expertise: we are Levi’s. We invented the denim game and we are still the best at it

Why did Levi’s launch Levi’s Made & Crafted?
Because we wanted to provide a more modern premium collection for a consumer who wanted more from the brand.

All three brands are different (Levi’s Red Tab, Levi’s Vintage Clothing and Levi’s Made & Crafted). What is the common ethos that binds all three together under the Levi’s umbrella?
We have a strong identity as a brand and a tried-and-tested wardrobe that works for us. Sticking with this and some of the recognisable details and fits, each division of the brand works out its own take.

Could you describe the man who would shop from Levi’s Made & Crafted?
Modern, understated, Levi’s-minded, with a stylish edge.

You’ve been the head of Levi’s Vintage Clothing for nearly 10 years. Does what you do for Levi’s Vintage Clothing inform/inspire your creations for Levi’s Made & Crafted, and vice versa?
Yes, it all comes from the same place at the end of the day, but sometimes you find very modern constructions and details which can be reworked and inform our Levi’s Made & Crafted line.

You also work on exhibitions for Levi’s. Where do you find the time? What’s your secret?
I don’t know. I just love what I do and somehow manage to fit it all in. I couldn’t do it without my team, who make it all happen and give me the time to work on as many different designs as I possibly can.

Your love for denim, when and how did that start?
It’s been going on for a long time. I started wearing Levi’s jeans when I was 7 years old and haven’t stopped wearing them. When I went to St Martins to study fashion I used denim and realised that my passion for the fabric and its design was what I felt most excited about.

What’s it like heading up the lines? What’s the best thing about it and what’s the biggest challenge?
It’s great working on the premium lines (including Levi’s RED). I love the challenge of what we do with building different collections for different people within the identity of the brand. Many people grew up with Levi’s. It’s good to keep building on the things we’re good at.

What’s next for Levi’s Made & Crafted? What do you want the world to know about Levi’s Made & Crafted?
We are working on showing experimental pieces in the future men’s and women’s lines; mixing fabrications and including technology and performance in the mix with a great denim fit portfolio and a wide range of washes.

 

Shop our online edit of Levi’s Made & Crafted online or visit us in-store.

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Meet The Designers: Uniform Wares and Their Exclusive Watch Strap Preview Event

Friday 22nd November 2013, 16.44

British timepiece brand, Uniform Wares, has been designing pared-back, everyday wristwatches since 2009. Since then designers Oliver Fowles and Patrick Bek have gone on to enjoy great success, recognition and publicity for their minimal, practical accessories that focus on modern, quality materials.

This Saturday 23 November, from 11am to 6pm, the designers will be in-store in Men’s Accessories on Lower Ground for an exclusive event. You’ll be able to purchase one-off, limited edition and exclusive watch straps in various materials including luxury leathers and skins, super soft Italian rubber and Milanese mesh strap bracelets. Find out more about the event.

We caught up with Oliver and Patrick to learn more about the ins and outs of the brand, their designs and what, in their opinion, makes the perfect watch.

Where did you both learn about design?
OLIVER: We both met whilst studying Furniture and Related Product Design at Buckingham Chilterns University.

 

What elements and knowledge do you each bring to your designs?
PATRICK: Designing the watches always starts with an animated conversation to decide on a concept. Once this is established, I’ll work on the case design, 3-D modelling and prototyping. Oliver focuses on the dials, textures, bracelets and finishes. Then there’s a lot more discussion about colour/material swatches and models and prototypes to drill down the idea into a feasible design.

The process has changed considerably since we started the brand though. Each new design is partly driven by the existing collections and also by the expansion of our customer base and retailers. We’ve spent a lot of time in the past year or so defining what each collection means to our audience and why it should exist. It’s important that it is unique and recognisable as Uniform Wares.

We don’t want to design a watch for the sake of it, we need to feel like there is a need. We like the fact that a lot of our customers are men and women that have never owned a watch before and have now decided to buy one of our pieces.

 

So what’s the story behind your watch designs? Why did you decided to create your own line of timepieces?
OLIVER: It was 2008 when we first had the idea for Uniform Wares. We had been working on furniture projects together and we were discussing how we could start a business that we could run at the same time as handling our projects for other manufacturers. We wanted to do something that would allow us to have complete control over design, production and distribution. With this in mind we decided to focus on small, personal objects that we could store and distribute from our studio; objects that are part of our everyday uniform, hence the brand’s name. We have both always loved watches so decided that our first design would be a timepiece.

 

Where do you look for/ find inspiration?
PATRICK: We are inspired by our customers; they shape the development of our future collections on a daily basis. We are also learning from the masters of high-end watch manufacture. We visited the Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva and it is hard to ignore the impact of that company on the entire watch industry; their influence runs deep and rightly so. Regardless of their design, they have never compromised or deviated from their principles. In terms of product design we both own a few pieces from Konstantin Grcic and have a great admiration for the work of Dieter Rams, Michael Marriott and Naoto Fukasawa, to name a few.

In your eyes, what makes the perfect watch?
OLIVER: Considered timepiece design achieves perfection when it successfully balances the functional nature of a wristwatch with the aesthetic qualities of a piece of jewellery.

 

Are your watch straps interchangeable?
OLIVER: Yes, most of the collection is interchangeable, with a few exceptions. However, we design all of our straps with the customer in mind so that they have the option to change materials, as the strap can define when and how a watch is used.

 

Do you have a certain customer in mind when you’re designing? Are Uniform Wares watches created specifically for men?
PATRICK: Each reference is created with a specific type of person in mind. However, we’ve found that the brand’s aesthetic and design values resonate with a wide audience, which really pleases us. Uniform Wares watches are always designed with both men and women in mind. We are a unisex brand.

 

What’s your favourite watch you’ve made?
PATRICK: It definitely has to be the 251 Series in brushed steel.

OLIVER: It has to be one of the new prototype, split-time chronographs we’ve been working on. One of the perks of owning a watch company is getting to wear a watch that no one else has yet!

 

Lastly, what’s on your Liberty Christmas wish list?
OLIVER: I first discovered this scent at Liberty and it’s been a favourite since: Byredo Sunday Cologne 100ml.

PATRICK: I’m all about coats and shoes, so this will definitely be on my Christmas list this year: Our Legacy Shield Parka Jacket.

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Get Creative at Liberty with Grenson Shoes

Friday 25th October 2013, 17.03

As part of Get Creative, Grenson are giving customers the chance to create their own personalised pair of G:Lab shoes which will then be made in their Northampton factory, using the same techniques that have been honed to perfection since the 1800s.

So what happens to your design once you’ve picked out the fabric, colour, sole and personal message? We had Grenson talk us through their process.

For starters, as the shoes designed at Get Creative are made to order, they will all be made individually. This means that the factory essentially shuts down all other production whilst each pair is built by hand – or hand controlled machine – through 250 separate processes. So while your shoes might start life on Roger’s pattern table, they will soon be passed onto the clicking, closing, lasting and finishing stages. Each process is completed by one individual at a time; ensuring the undivided attention of the craftsperson at each stage.

Grenson shoemaking leather

making grenson shoes

Vital to Grenson is the belief that time creates quality. ‘Goodyear Welted’ is a time consuming process but it means that 140 years of experience goes into every pair. These techniques also make the shoes far easier to replace the sole and repair, making them a wonderful investment.

grensho shoe factory

Finally, once your shoes have arrived, make sure to care for them by wearing at least three or four times before you allow them to get wet. To improve the sheen, allow shoe polish to sit on the shoes as long as possible, ideally overnight.

Every pair of G:Lab shoes designed at Get Creative will be made entirely in Northampton using the processes described above, a truly unique opportunity.

Drop into the Liberty store before Saturday 2nd November to order your shoes on LG floor Men’s and 1st floor Women’s.

 

Have you seen some of Grenson’s shoemakers crafting shoes live inside our Regent Street store windows?

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