It demonstrates a good amount of relaxation and playfulness in between tradition and modernity that reflect London’s evolving zeitgeist.
British luxury brand Dunhill makes its return to its motherland after showing during Paris Men’s Fashion Week the last few seasons, as it joins London Fashion Week’s digital calendar to present its fall 2021 collection, “Compendium.”
For Mark Weston, who’s been creative director of Dunhill since April 2017, the return provides the brand with “an opportunity to connect with London” beyond the usual pre-BAFTA parties it hosted annually for emerging British actors before the pandemic.
The fall collection reflects the dramatic change in our lives.
As a part of Weston’s mission to bring Dunhill to a new generation of younger audiences worldwide and get them hooked on the brand’s Britishness — “a certain attitude and set of values as well on a broad sense, a sense of sophisticated style, and particularly the celebration of the multiplicity of the contemporary London” — the new collection mixes relaxation and playfulness with tradition and modernity that reflect London’s evolving zeitgeist.
Featuring objects of both provenance and purpose, ‘dunhill Compendium’, our new collection for Autumn Winter 2021, is a play between the homespun and urbane, of utility and formality. Reflecting how we all live now, with a more relaxed approach to sophistication.
On top of the brand’s best-known tailoring pieces, and Weston’s signature wrap jacket and split hem trousers, the new collection also features cozy choices like an easy-to-wear multifunctional parka with a detachable bottom half, seen in the opening look; a colorful hand-knit jumper, and scarves that would make one shine during Zoom calls. Leather pieces are another highlight in the collection, whether it’s a marigold yellow trenchcoat, a navy mac coat or the dark mint shirt worn underneath.
“It’s definitely an evolution of where we’ve been, but it has a new confidence.
Some sports elements, mixing a very British style, and I think that element of duality is sort of the codes of Dunhill. That contrast of traditional modernity, and there’s also there’s this notion of one thing turning into another as well,” Weston explained. A good example is the use of reversed silk jacquard in turtlenecks, cummerbund-shape bumbags.
While speculation has swirled 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 myriad strategies to turn it around, the changes that Weston has been making, both in design and communication, have helped do so.
Last month, the brand participated in Highsnobiety’s virtual exhibition “Not in Paris II.” With event posters all over Paris’ Le Marais area, Dunhill invited a diverse cast of people from different backgrounds — such as the Slam City Skates team’s Darius Trabalza, electronic musician James Lavelle and Japanese artist Kenta Cobayashi — to discuss life and creativity in the time of COVID-19, and their affinity and connection with the brand.
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 retail footprint.
“I think Dunhill has good brand awareness in China, the market has been really embracing the new Dunhill more strongly compared to our other customers,” he said.
In all, Weston is encouraged that people are beginning to react to a changing image of Dunhill, which is becoming more relevant for today’s global consumers, while staying true to its British heritage.
Looking beyond the pandemic, he likes to think that the formalwear market, which has been devastated due to the lack of weddings, funerals and fine dining, will make a strong comeback, but in a less rigid and more playful, experimental fashion.
“I think it’s a case of adapting, and for me, tailoring is not dead. It’s far from dead. It will just take on a new guise, a new fusion of style and attitude,” he said.
Creative Director: #MarkWeston
Art Direction: @ezrapetronio@petronioassociates
Styling & Creative Consultant: #ElliottSmedley
Make Up: @wendyrowe