“dunhill is not one thing, it’s many,” says Mark Weston, Creative Director of dunhill. “This is my fifth show at the house and there feels like a certain kind of summing up in this collection. I am fascinated with The Blitz club, particularly Homer Sykes’ pictures of it. It was a place of freedom and individuality, a mix of cultures: performers, the establishment and art. We don’t seem to have that now, that collision. And the collision is important. The man in this collection is a cross between the preppy and the new wave, the establishment and the anti-establishment – it is not about making purely singular characters. Instead, it is about taking all 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 is also about how to build and engineer clothing. It is a mindset that is not lofty, but it is exciting in its technicality. In many ways, it is a new view of deconstruction.”
The old guard and the avant-garde are both celebrated in the latest dunhill collection, 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 from previous collections reach a culmination in this one, becoming a settled part of the fabric of dunhill. 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, provide a more relaxed lower half to the silhouette. Standard suiting is eschewed, yet tailoring is both rigorous and sensuous. The wrapped jacket is now also strapped, a subtle play on bondage. Silk knit neckpieces, strong structured shoulders and high break jackets provide a new, sinuous elegance in the upper half. Town and country come together in hints of the equestrian.
Luxurious leather outerwear, a tour de force of capes and overcoats in calf and eel, provide drama and yet are 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, the inner becoming outer. Here Melton felt under collars, chest canvas and acetate linings emerge, utility transformed into elegance. Brothel creepers and Vibram soled Duty loafers provide the grounding, accessorised with the new Lock bags..
This is the third show with music provided by Moses Boyd, today collaborating with the poet and musician James Massiah. Both they and their work personify and amplify the codes of creativity at the house. Both are valued members of the dunhill community.