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Fashion's New Optimism: Lou Dalton

A graduate and now teacher at the RCA, Lou is inspired by Wallace Simpson, Guy Bourdin and the Coen brothers.

Lou Dalton, 35, British, Menswear

Where did you study and why did you decide to study there? 7
The Royal College of Art in London, the only wholly post graduate university of art & design in the world, need I say more! It gave me a fantastic start to my career, I have never not worked. I now go back & teach on both the Menswear & Accessory design course.

Which city do work in and for what reason?
London, I think Oscar Wilde summed it up perfectly: “A man who is bored with London is a man bored with life.”

What films/books/tv-programs/moments and stories inspire your design now?
Most Coen Brothers movies, Coco Chanel & the Duke of Westminster, The End of the Affair by Graham Greene, Edward Windsor & Wallace Simpson, Christopher Isherwood, Guy Bourdin, Patti Smith & Robert Mapplethorpe

In your own words describe your last collection.
Imposing checks, subtle knits, one big Jamboree....

Describe the moment you realized you wanted to be a fashion designer?
I spent most of my childhood at my grandmothers farm in the Shropshire hills. Although she worked the land, her other main obsession was clothes, you name it she had it, I would spend most of my time trying out various combinations of anything from a fox fur to a plus four. Also have a very strong memory of watching Zandra Rhodes on “This is your Life” in 1985, I wanted to be her, fashion seemed such a glamorous way of make a living!! Little did I know..............

Who is your all time fashion idol?
Edward Windsor

In a sentence how would you describe your work/style?
Colourful, wonderful, fun,fun,fun.

From the recent S/S 09 shows, which shows were your favourite collections, and why?
Lanvin, loved the injection of colour, Bottega Veneta's pajamas, Dries Van Noten - damn right easy to wear, Soar's palm tree knits.

Which new designers do you respect and why?
When it comes to new menswear designers I struggle. We have a damnhard time trying to keep going with very little support, so designers I admire are the likes of WooYoungMi, N.Hoolywood and Soar. They all float my boat creatively.

If you could go back in time and experience any fashion moment, what would it be?
Paris Is Burning the 1990 documentary film directed by Jennie Livingston. Filmed in the mid-to-late 1980s, it chronicles the ball culture of New York City and the poor, African American and Latino gay and transgendered community involved in it. Many consider Paris Is Burning to be an invaluable documentary of the end of the "Golden Age" of New York City drag balls, as well as a thoughtful exploration of race, class, and gender in America

If you could get any model/ anyone to wear your clothes, who would it be - who is your muse and why?
I love a man who has a bit of a story to tell, a colourful soul who ain’t no shrinking violet; David Hockney, Eugene Hutz, Billy Childish, Edward Windsor, John Byrne, Truman Capote, Francis Bacon, Robert Mapplethorpe. This same list of men will never fail to inspire me.

If you were to shoot your campaign and you could get your dream team of photographer, stylist, and model and do anything you wanted, who and what would it be?
Robert Mapplethorpe photographer, Patti Smith as the model, Ray Petri stylist. There wouldn’t be a brief, they could do whatever they wanted to do.

Where do you see yourself/your label for A/W 09?
With my head just above water. Oh and stocked in The Library, London, United Arrows, Japan, Goyo Sportivo, Madrid to name but a few.

Where do you see yourself/ your label for A/W 29?
Not to have drowned under the financial pressure, to be making a good profit and to be at the head of a successful global brand, hopefully my own....

Tell us any anecdotes about the making of your last collection.
It doesn’t matter how much planning one does in trying to get the collection finished on time, we were literally sewing buttons on the train on our way to Paris, it was a bloody nightmare.

If you weren’t a fashion designer what would you be?
A makeup artist. If money’s tight it’s the next best thing to tart up an outfit, you can’t beat a bit of lippy and eye colour.
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