How do you choose which designer to head what ancient fashion house when its time has come to be re-vamped? It’s an interesting question because for every successful Raf at Jil, Hedi at Dior and Ghesquire at Balenciaga, there are just as many that fail to live up to expectations. Luckily that’s not the case with Kim Jones at Alfred Dunhill. Sure, there were probably a few eyebrows raised when the über cool and slightly ironic Umbro impresario took over last year. But oh, how wrong they were. The combination of Dunhill’s exquisite heritage and Jones’ menswear expertise has proved successful. He might only have designed two seasons but already a pattern is clear; Kim’s modernisation of Dunhill is enhancing the original qualities of the luxury brand, not hiding them. Move over Burberry, you are no longer the only quintessentially British brand on the scene.
On a revolving platform Jones had built a mountain of silver suitcases, continuing Dunhill’s tradition as a travel brand. Like with many clothes, the suitcases featured the AD logo, one that we can probably expect to see lots of in the future. To a gorgeous New Order soundtrack, we saw classy navy blazers – some plain, others with a sophisticated check pattern – and short mac coats in grey tones. Panama hats and grey flint stone sunglasses furthered the well-travelled look. No upper class inspired collection is complete with out at least one double-breasted suit, and Jones delivered several. Also a classic pea coat saw the light of day.
The trousers were well cut; without belt loops, but with side buckles. Certain aspects of the show, like a four-buttoned navy suit jacket, made for an army uniform-esque feeling. But what can be a better source of inspiration than a Royal Air Force officer on leave? An hour before his show, Kim Jones talked Dazed Digital through the collection.
Dazed Digital: How would you describe the collection?
Kim Jones: There was a travel theme, but I also thought a lot about Alfred Dunhill himself and his customers, like the Duke of Windsor. It was about updating their style and looking at the traditional idea of menswear but adding technological aspects to it.
DD: Where did the idea for a silver suitcase come from?
Kim Jones: The original is travel bag from the 1920’s and designed by Alfred Dunhill. We just modernised it!
DD: How would you describe the original Dunhill label?
Kim Jones: It was actually a quite quirky brand, they did things like key watches.
DD: What would you say are the key Dunhill pieces that have survived time?
Kim Jones: The travel blazer, the white shirt, the good mac and eveningwear
DD: You said there are three different stages in the collection – what are they?
Kim Jones: We have the explorer section, the military inspired eveningwear part and the first bit is daywear but with a clear reference to the Duke of Windsor.
DD: How much of the collection is Kim Jones and how much is Alfred Dunhill?
Kim Jones: My brief to myself is to leave it entirely Alfred Dunhill, but there’s always going to be elements of my quirkiness in there, like the glasses and the silver suitcase.
DD: What is your favourite piece from the collection?
Kim Jones: Definitely the silver suitcase, I’m having one of those!
Backstage photography by Giovanni di Nunzio.