With a strong analysis of his archives, but always with contemporary fabrics, designer Mark Weston presented his clearest fashion statement for Dunhill to date on Friday.
His initial reference was a billowing umbrella-like coat drawn from the archives, but reinvented as a layered raincoat in slate gray, the epitome of understated elegance.
The spring-summer 2023 collection was photographed on the roof of Woolwich Arsenal, a military structure that is a mix of 19th century brown brick and huge contemporary glass windows.
«It’s a great space for a photo shoot, a mix of the original with a modern flare. I wanted that idea of old meeting new, as in the collection,» Weston explained in a Zoom call from Dunhill’s U.K. headquarters.
«The idea was to take special fabrics to make the collection feel lighter than ever. Challenging myself and the team as to what we can do,» Weston added, standing in front of an inspiration board that included a Peter Lindbergh shoot in a 1998 Uomo Vogue, when Mark was working in New York.
«What I loved about that shoot was that everything was taken in profile,» she said, smiling, to better highlight the super-lightweight fabrics.
Like the water-resistant wool and silk blend used in the new umbrella-like coat or in several cool and elegant midnight blue suits. While a spectacular blazer is composed of second skin finished with a superfine membrane to prevent tears. Totally clean inside, its sides are perforated, keeping the torso cool. Another three-layer super-lightweight leather coat is perforated at the back, shoulders and behind the sleeves.
Weston confesses to having a «love-hate relationship with the mil stripes,» but his solution to the conflict is ingenious. Creating a sleek white parka in military-cut mil-stripes over a nylon grid, a material also seen in large utility pants paired with a black-on-black denim blazer.
The collection, made in a mix of slate, medium gray, ochre and Yale blue, manages to combine drama with fluidity. The collection will arrive in-store and online in early December.
It is accompanied by a new range of folding leather goods, such as stony leather handbags and fanny packs finished with an 1893 harness that showcases Dunhill’s origins as a carriage purveyor. The new half-wrapped car racing goggles again draw inspiration from the brand’s early days supplying the fledgling automotive industry. They can also be seen in an old turn-of-the-century advertisement on Weston’s inspiration board for Dunhill Motorities, and a gentleman sitting inside a convertible car.
«It captured the feeling of protection I wanted, but very elevated for today with the best of fabrics,» Weston concluded.