British luxury brand Dunhill is making a comeback to its homeland after showing recent seasons at Paris Men’s Fashion Week, as it joins the London Fashion Week digital calendar to showcase its fall 2021 collection, “Compendium” .
For Mark Weston, Creative Director of Dunhill since April 2017, the return offers the brand “an opportunity to connect with London” beyond the usual pre-BAFTA parties it organized annually for emerging British actors before the pandemic.
The fall collection reflects the radical change in our lives. As part of Weston’s mission to bring Dunhill to a new generation of young audiences around the world and make them addicted to the brand’s British – “a certain attitude and set of values as well as a broad sense, a sense of sophisticated style, and in particular the celebration of the multiplicity of contemporary London ”- the new collection blends relaxation and playfulness with tradition and modernity that reflect London’s changing zeitgeist.
In addition to the brand’s best-known couture pieces, Weston’s signature wrap jacket and split-hem pant, the new collection also offers comfy choices like an easy-to-wear, multi-functional parka with a detachable bottom half, seen in the opening look; a colorful hand-knitted sweater and scarves that would make a person shine on Zoom calls. Leather pieces are another highlight of the collection, whether it’s a marigold yellow trench coat, a navy mac coat or the dark mint shirt worn underneath.
“It’s definitely an evolution of who we have been, but it has a new confidence. A few sporty elements, mixing a very British style, and I think that element of duality is sort of Dunhill’s codes. This contrast to traditional modernity, and there’s also this notion of one thing that also transforms into another, ”Weston explained. A good example is the use of inverted silk jacquard in turtlenecks, cummerbund shaped banquettes.
As speculation has turned over the past few years that Dunhill’s parent company, Compagnie Financière Richemont, was looking for a way out of the brand after decades of trying a myriad of strategies to overthrow it, the changes that Weston brought in, both in design and communication, helped make it happen.
Last month, the brand participated in Highsnobiety’s virtual exhibition “Not in Paris II”. With event posters all over the Parisian Marais district, Dunhill invited a diverse cast of people from different backgrounds – such as Darius Trabalza of the Slam City Skates team, electronic musician James Lavelle and Japanese artist Kenta Cobayashi – to discuss the life and creativity of the time. COVID-19, along with their affinity and connection to the brand.
Weston described Dunhill as a facilitator. “Working with people, celebrating them as creative individuals, I think that’s pretty cool,” he said. “UUltimately, I believe in real clothes on real people, and in the usefulness of function and elegance, so I think that’s a great example of that, and it also shows that new sense of the way we want to talk about Dunhill and how strong we have. in our identity.
For the US market, Kanye West wore a black leather blazer from the brand’s fall 2020 collection to attend the Vanity Fair Oscar party last year, helping Dunhill create a powerful association with a community previously unaware of the Mark.
“It was great to see his connection to our design aesthetic, interested in our fit and our sensibility.… This week we saw people like Algee Smith, Shaun Ross and Yahya Abdul Mateen [wearing Dunhill]. I think it’s exciting to see what we’re doing resonates with a wide range of people, ”he added.
In China, the brand’s largest market and where the idea of gender is more fluid, Dunhill appointed popular actor Yang Yang as a brand ambassador, and spotlighted female celebrities like Chris Lee, Ni Ni and Song Zu’er carrying his design of men’s clothing, attracting the brand’s appeal to young Chinese fashion-loving consumers.
The company also launched its online flagship store with Tmall’s Luxury Pavilion last September to expand its access to Chinese customers beyond its existing commercial footprint.
“I think Dunhill has a good reputation in China, the market has really adopted the new Dunhill more strongly than our other customers,” he said.
Overall, Weston is heartened that people are starting to react to a changing image of Dunhill, which is becoming increasingly relevant to global consumers today, while remaining true to its British heritage.
Beyond the pandemic, he likes to think that the formal market, which has been devastated by the lack of weddings, funerals and gastronomy, will make a comeback, but in a less rigid and more playful and experimental way.
“I think it’s a question of adaptation, and for me, sewing is not dead. It is far from dead. It will just take on a new look, a new fusion of style and attitude, ”he said.
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