Dunhill looks to home comforts for its autumn/winter collection

Dunhill 

Dunhill

At this stage in our lockdown paralysis, we’re all well used to making the most of the minutiae of our home environment. Luckily, Dunhill has a wealth of resources on its doorstep to keep its design team and creative director Mark Weston brimming with ideas. For the historic British house’s autumn/winter 2021 collection, the team ventured into its astounding archives in the hinterlands of Walthamstow, where they discovered some buried sartorial treasure.

Dunhill 

Dunhill

“I found an old compendium from the 1920s, a beautiful, gold-plated case that contained a plethora of things, from a cigarette holder to lighter, luxury clock, tools and a pocket knife,” said Weston, via Zoom call. “It was one item that did everything, and it struck me that this is something men still want today – timeless design and utility.”

That resulted in the ‘compendium coat’, a multi-faced outdoors piece that can be unzipped to form different iterations and have linings removed. Technical outerwear hasn’t been Dunhill’s traditional heartland, but with suiting in crisis thanks to work-at-home edicts, diversifying its offering is a smooth move.

Dunhill 

Dunhill

Its history, particularly in the automotive industry, has long acted as a springboard for Dunhill’s 21st-century identity, and this time it was the grand design gestures of Britain’s stately homes that informed the eveningwear proposal.

The kind of plush textiles that would have filled 20th-century drawing rooms were employed via jacquard, but shown in reverse so that the abstract, distorted underside is on the outside.

These fabrics, on quasi-shirt/top hybrids, took the place of the traditional tuxedos and plush velvet dinner jackets that have hitherto made up the mainstay of Dunhill’s formalwear output. They looked like just the kind of eye-catching evening ensembles that today’s aristocracy – TikTok stars and K Pop influencers – would adopt in lieu of more classic variants.

Dunhill 

Dunhill

A minimalist, Japanese influence has infused Weston’s work at Dunhill over the last couple of years, and that was most apparent in the collarless, side-fastening evening jacket with a raw hem: formality without the fuss.

Alongside the more opulent razzmatazz, Weston applied a more personal touch – namely the scarves and sweaters inspired by his mother’s home knitting. “It feels like time for something more soulful in how we dress; [we want] things with meaning,” said the designer.

He brought a softer element to the hard leathers of outerwear – leathercraft being a backbone of the house – via trenches in padded leather, so that the silhouette was more voluminous and pillowy.

Dunhill 

Dunhill

Will the old-school Dunhill customer be adopting the technical outerwear and raspberry leather smock top anytime soon? No, and he’d likely choke on his kippers at the suggestion.

But institutions like Dunhill have to find a new narrative when suits, ties and formal ephemera aren’t selling (although a beautiful butterscotch leather tote/weekend bag would fit nicely in the estate car). And, in looking into the wellspring on his front door, Weston’s doing just that.

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