There’s a new dawn at dunhill and we catch up with creative director Mark Weston to find out more about the British brand’s revolution in relevance.
Traditionally, the world of menswear has always been driven by a sense of timelessness and authenticity, often forgoing passing trends in favour of longevity. And it’s well known that dunhill London has always been one of those brands that wholly embraces this style philosophy. Today though, while this faithfulness to its overarching heritage remains, the legendary British brand is eager to infuse a more contemporary approach. It’s a change in direction that is being deftly driven by current creative director Mark Weston.
Formerly senior vice president of menswear at Burberry, Weston is no stranger to the balancing act between traditional and fashion-forward. Taking the helm in 2017, he presented his first collection in June of that year. Billed by the brand as “a new vision for dunhill”, the line-up offered a fresh outlook for Spring/Summer 2018.
When touching on the various transitions dunhill has made since its establishment – recalling its early days as a purveyor of car accessories back in 1893 before becoming a tobacco titan and now a leading authority on luxury menswear – Weston expresses great enthusiasm for these many evolutions.
“The thing is, with dunhill, it’s all there. The classicism of London, the environment of the stores, the automotive link, the leather, the tailoring – these are the foundation stones, the codes of what dunhill means. It’s exciting to look at how to manifest these things in accessories and clothing in a different way. “I am always thinking about what can be revisited and evolved, what we can build to be something bigger. It’s about continuity, an evolution where one element adds to another. In turn, one collection will essentially grow from another.” There have been some big changes at the brand of late, including the decision to move its runway shows to Paris – a bold choice considering the brand’s venerable British reputation. Although Weston is quick to assure label lovers that dunhill’s roots remain firmly linked to its London stomping grounds.
“The classicism of London is at the core of the brand. It is important that we show an idea of Britishness as it is something crucial to dunhill and the way we approach style here.”
Diversity seems to be another big buzzword over at dunhill, with Weston revealing: “For me, it’s not about one guy, it’s more of an attitude. It’s about a quiet confidence, a maturity of mindset, a man who can appreciate quality and beautiful things.
“For the brand, it’s important to create a visual vocabulary that corresponds to these different men and the different aspects of their lives. The dunhill man is multiple, not singular and likewise there is not a single way of being British, there are many. There is classicism and tradition, as well as an idea of the contemporary.”
The idea of dunhill appealing to today’s ‘real’ man is something the creative director is keen to build on as he offers a more fluid exchange between classic and contemporary.
“The notion of executive style is really important, alongside a sense of ease. Things should feel quite natural and real.”
This multifaceted perspective was clearly illustrated in dunhill’s recent Autumn/Winter 2018 campaign, entitled Reflections. Championing a relaxed, sportier feel, the brand’s new shift in attitude shines through in the attention to detail – from fabrication to scale and proportion. With a distinctive nod towards styles of the late 70s and early 80s, Weston reveals he paid tribute to this retro era as he considers it to be a time when “guys really cherished wearing clothes”.
A similar multifaceted approach can be found in the brand’s current Spring/Summer 2019 collection, which, as Weston puts it, offers a present-day “focus on necessity”.
“The collection is about embracing both precision and subversion, utility and elegance, while also building on quintessentially masculine codes”, he explains.
Delving further into the details, he adds: “There’s a sense of formality, but shown in a contemporary way that will really resonate with the customer. The relaxed, wrapped tailoring infuses a new, sinuous elegance to notions of power dressing, while split hem trousers nod to an eighties casual code. Moiré silk, most often used in formal eveningwear, is used throughout the collection in both jackets and trousers and supplants technical fabrics.”
Focusing on the future, Weston reveals he hopes to build on the dunhill family. “Creating a world that includes musicians, creatives and like-minded people is personally very important. To me, it’s about maintaining the heritage and sense of where the brand has come from, without restricting where we are going.”
Discover more at the dunhill boutique in The Dubai Mall 04 4340403