Old guard meets avant-guarde
The launch of Dunhill’s autumn-winter collection at Paris Men’s Fashion Week represents the fifth season with Mark Weston at the helm as creative director. He was the first to step onto the runway in the show at the Grand Palais museum, which was also hosting an exhibition on the artist Toulouse Lautrec.
As Weston, who joined Dunhill in 2017, explained, his own sense of artistry, and how it relates to the brand, has evolved, leading to one of his best collections yet. “Dunhill is not one thing, it’s many,” he said. “This is my fifth show at the house, and there feels like a certain kind of summing up in this collection.
“The man we cater to is a cross between the preppy and the new wave, the establishment and the anti-establishment – it’s not about making purely singular characters. Instead, it’s about taking all of those elements and putting them together, reconstructing and recontextualising. I approached the collection in terms of process – dismantling it and putting it together in a different way. It’s also about how to build and engineer clothing. It’s a mindset that isn’t lofty, but it’s exciting in its technicality.”
The old guard and the avant-garde are both catered to, where tradition and subversion work together in a distinctly British way. The technical specificity of menswear is celebrated, with British tailoring traditions explored and experimented with, providing a new take on deconstruction.
Leitmotifs become a settled part of the fabric. Codes of class and creativity, of the establishment and the anti-establishment, find form once more. The introduction of pegged trousers in felt and eel skin, a nod to the New Romantics, provides a relaxed lower half to the silhouette.
Standard suiting is eschewed, yet tailoring is both rigorous and sensuous. The wrapped jacket is now also strapped, while silk knit neckpieces, strong structured shoulders and high break jackets provide a new, sinuous elegance in the upper half. It’s town meets country, with luxurious leather outerwear, and capes and overcoats in calf and eel, providing drama, engineered and bonded for practicality.
Kimono sleeves add to the exploration of volume and structure, while the notion of tailoring itself is deconstructed with its secret codes exposed, as the inner becomes the outer. Here, Melton felt under collars, chest canvas and acetate linings emerge, as a utility is transformed into elegance. Link strap loafers provide the grounding, accessorised with the new Lock bags.
Find the collection in Dunhill stores later this year.