Alfred Dunhill on the move; as new designer Mark Weston unveils first ideas
This season’s big debut at a major British brand was the arrival of Mark Weston at Dunhill, the venerable label beloved by James Bond.
Weston joined Dunhill from Burberry where he spent nine years as senior vice president of menswear, reporting to Christopher Bailey. Seeing as Bailey, in commercial terms, is Britain’s most successful designer ever, as well as being a truly inventive creator, Weston comes with some considerable pedigree.
How well did he perform? It turns out Weston is a highly competent designer, who already in one season has injected elegance, dash and wit into a somewhat dusty house. For his first at bat: Weston showed a selection of fall 2017 looks, as well as a full spring 2018 selection.
Tan deconstructed cashmere blazers worn with black as night jeans; military campaign top coats with rabbit interiors; smoothly cut suits with two-button jackets worn with white sneakers – seen on a quartet of handsome Asian models. The runway was staged upstairs in the brand’s flagship at 133 New Bond Street. There were so many Chinese at this event, one almost expected one’s passport to be stamped.
There were also some great new mini leather duffle bags, embossed with 2 Davies Mayfair, the original address of the first store opened by Alfred Dunhill, back in 1893. And a new version in hard silver of the label's iconic lighter – a constant companion of 007.
“What I want for Dunhill is to be relevant. To make great clothing, for our times. To be British, but with an international outlook,” explained Weston, an experienced designer who cut his teeth at Donna Karan and Coach in New York before moving to Burberry.
Though often described as a classic British tailoring brand, Dunhill began life as a saddler business in 1893, growing to become a supplier of high-quality leather goods, and then attire, at the birth of the motorcar industry. It developed elegant boutiques – known as Homes - for the upper classes in major cities. Their New Bond St flagship continues that tradition.
Dunhill is a division of Richemont, the Swiss-based though South African-owned group that is the third largest luxury conglomerate in the world. The UK brand, which owns a global chain of some 70 boutiques, does not release annual sales figures.
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