Dunhill: Entente Cordiale with Japan
One cannot fault Dunhill’s designer Mark Weston for lack of ambition. He paired several very disparate cultures and concepts in his latest show for the house – from Japanese 90s design to British tailoring to inside out fabrication – but the net result was one of the most interesting menswear collections seen anywhere this year.
Weston kept the presentation simple, lots of dashing young men walking briskly in a mock runway setting, before no audience in his online display Monday early afternoon. And, from the get-go, Weston’s meeting of these two great island cultures clearly jelled . Soft, kimono shaped shoulders and avant-garde Japanese draping meeting all sort of classical UK tailoring touches – from enlarged stitching to basting.
“It’s about taking our key elements – tailoring and leather and strong other materials. While I also wanted to be about structure and substance, along with the joy of working by hand,” explained Weston in a pre-show zoom interview.
All told, there was a sense of menswear couture – haute game fabrics use experimentally. Collar canvas; linen canvas or linen holland, a material normally used within a jacket to strengthen it and secure the pockets. Except when Weston got his hands on the material he cut it into a pair of great strap pants .
Riffing on the idea of elements from within taken outside to make a jacket, and then letting his staff go to work on multiple examples of hand stitching and basting with bomber jackets in linen wool canvas. Everything cut to envelope the torso, but lightly to suggest great ease and self-assurance. Mostly finished with light industry hardware, buckles, clasps and clips. And for a lighter mood, Nippon Punk graphic party shirts. From fluid cape bomber looks to a fantastic reinvented archive duster in a soft buttery hue with box stitching and external seaming this was a collection of great poise.
Back in 1902 the two countries signed the Anglo Japanese Alliance. If they ever decided to celebrate that wise pact, this is the collection they should wear to the party.
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