It might only be my birthday today but I had an early present when I visited Dunhill's temporary installation space in Manhattan's Meatpacking District and was able to marvel at and inspect (unfortunately, I was unable to take anything home!) Kim Jones' Aw10 collection for the British luxury brand. The spirit of Dunhill's flagship space, Bourdon House has been transported to the heart of New York. Laser-cut, powder-coated aluminium panels suspended over a black rubber floor combined with a life sized projection of the Bourdon House exterior and its Mayfair surroundings create an abstract spirit of the brands heart and soul, an ethereal version for people to experience.
Susie wandering around the gardens of Bourdon House in the heart of New York with the help of the life sized projector.
For those of you unfamiliar with Bourdon House, it is the ultimate in masculine luxury and retail lifestyle. Formerly the London residence of the Duke of Westminster, it reflects Alfred’s own legacy as a curator of the very finest, offering not only superlative product but the ultimate in services and experience too. This installation, realised by Campaign Design in London, has created a Bourdon House on tour. A travelling lounge, made up of a series of elements which reinforce the origins of the brand and brings back the message of the modern, sophisticated travelling man, with beautiful bespoke display elements that can be packed for the journey.
The installation houses thirty pieces from Aw10 alongside key pieces from previous seasons and inspirational archive pieces.
Dunhill's Aw10 collection was once again a fusion of heritage with modern day luxury. As with SS10, Jones picked out key inspirations from Dunhill's illustrious past and repackaged them for the new era of luxury. As I walked through the installation, it confirmed what I have previously said about Jones, he obviously takes great delight in investigating the brands archives before adding his own innovation to create the Dunhill of today. The heritage of Dunhill is so broad and so darn British, from its beginnings with the birth of the car to creating luxury accessories for motorcycling, aviation and the oh-so-fashionable smokers in the Roaring Twenties. For AW10, the central inspiration is the journey of Clement Court and his role in expanding the Dunhill empire.
Dunhill's trademark Maki-e pen using the lacquer tree of Japan and Stingray covered boxes.
AW10 was inspired by a journal we found of Clement Court, who as an ambassador for Dunhill traveled to Kyoto on the Trans-Siberian Express in the 1920s. Court wanted to see firsthand how Namiki pens were made. The result was Dunhill's trademark Maki-e pen using the lacquer tree of Japan. In addition to showcasing the AW10 collection, the installation presents a few key pieces from the last few seasons, alongside the archive pieces which inspired them. Fortunately, my favourite accessories from the Radical Englishman Abroad collection for SS10. The polished flint boxes and sunglasses have a wonderful natural pattern and ever since I saw them on the catwalk, I've longed to inspect them in real life. The flint comes from the South Downs and after being polished is dressed up in handmade leather straps which were made in Alfred Dunhill's workshop in Walthamstow, East London.
The AW10 collection itself is full of very British looking suits mixed with lots of cashmere knits and heavy wool outerwear. It has been inspired by an entrepreneurial, passionate travelling English gentleman who demonstrated exceedingly good taste levels in everything he did and Jones' interpretation is undoubtedly fit for the modern day Clement Court.
The Dunhill logo is exactly as it used to be however Jones decided to frame it with oak leaves surrounding it.
For a brand with such strong roots, any steering by Jones has been to emphasise them – those being the characteristics of classicism and understatement but his challenge was to present these with a wholly modern personality too which he has surely done with this collection. This modern personality was made all the more obvious by the small details that often go unoticed on the catwalk.
I love the idea of maps as pocket squares. Actually, one of my favourite pocket squares is a map of Tokyo handkerchief from Muji.
The installation, like the label itself reveals tradition through a twenty first century lens. Under the exciting stewardship of Kim Jones the sartorial spirit of Alfred Dunhill certainly lives on and with the help of this installation, his influence has spread to New York. The space closes on the 18th, if you are in the city from now until then, I implore you to visit Dunhill's temporary home from home.
Hiking boots that non ramblers like myself truly covet.