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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Paris Men's Week: Dunhill

One of the biggest misjudgments I've ever made was dismissing Stefano Pilati’s talents. Though I could see his early YSL collections were meant to remind us of the greatness of the brand, I was impatient for progress—which he's delivered in spades in recent seasons. Kim Jones’ position at Dunhill is similar. Transforming one of the world’s oldest and biggest global luxury brands—they make pens out of meteorites and black diamonds!—into a fashion label for today was always going to be a lengthy, difficult project. That Jones has so quickly created a believable base to build on is commendable.

New Order’s The Perfect Kiss, a love song to fearlessness in that optimistic 80's synth way, set the tone as boys stepped onto a revolving carousel heavy with polished aluminum luggage before traipsing down the runway. The shows predominantly blue-gray palette was modern and light, and materials were wow, but never crossed an un-English line into fey snakeskin vulgarity. It was a brilliant interpretation of traditional tailoring, military and safari blazers. Accessories included blue straw trilbies, hand-carved flint sunglasses and a holdall in carbon fiber, a material first used commercially in Rolls Royce aero engines. How absolutely right for modern Dunhill is that?

—Daryoush Haj-Najafi

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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Paris Men's Week: Dunhill

By Daryoush Haj-Najafi...

Lily Allen was so excited to see Kim Jones' first collection for Dunhill, she said, that she came on a private jet. And why not? Dunhill has more than a 160 shops and global name recognition, while streetwise Jones knows just how to give it his own understated twist.

Jones has said on many occasions that he feels it's his duty to present Dunhill's century-old excellence in luxury travel to the world. So yes, the show was a bit conservative, but ever-disciplined Jones did an amazing, almost subliminal reworking of the brand in expensive materials, like a duffel coat with mammoth-tooth buttons, Mongolian cashmere and rabbit fedoras—all hinting at Dunhill's older, wilder aesthetic. There were also numerous variations on the white shirt; we dug the box-pleating and poplins, as well as collarless blazers and paper-thin suiting.

Ingeniously, Jones managed to put tons of the accessories on the catwalk without sending out an army of handbags carrying male models: silver watches on key chains and tie pins, leather document cases, silver tie bars and cufflinks—even a woodgrain bag. The accessory design trend to watch? The knitted tie—Jones didn't show anything but.

Afterward, I headed to Gareth's show in the back of some rich German kid's leather-lined Range Rover. He told me he was a film student in Paris, obviously with money to burn. He offered me a cigarette—a Dunhill cigarette, naturally.

Dunhill by Kim Jones

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Play It Forward

Anyone who's met Kim Jones knows the new creative director of Dunhill works hard and plays even harder. And when he plays, he takes pictures. These are of artist Terence Koh, in London for Frieze Art Fair, and the antics that seem to follow him wherever he goes...

Terence and model Cole Mohr dancing
Terence presenting his manifesto, "which we all loved," says Kim

Roller disco in Hyde Park

Cole trying on a palm leaf at the Fantastic Man party at Bistrotheque
Kim draped in fur

Gallerist Simon Parris and Kim celebrating Kim's first centerfold

Terence, "the talented Mr. Edward Tang" and unidentified friend
Anouck Lepère, graphics guru Felix Neill and Kim (hiding) at Terence's show at Serpentine Gallery

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Monday, January 28, 2008

Longtime Hint friend Kim Jones has just signed on as the new creative director of Dunhill, the high-end English men's label. He'll be designing not only Dunhill's collections, but also its legendary leather goods and accessories. Congrats, Kim! Here, a quickie Q&A...

How did the deal come about? Did they just ring you up? Are companies constantly ringing you up?
Dunhill came through Floriane de Saint Pierre, who approached me last October. I do have a lot of people calling. I would say I get around four calls a month, but this was a very big call.

At first glance, Dunhill's image doesn't exactly mesh with yours, which is probably why they sought you out. Are they looking for a new kind of customer?
You'd be surprised. At the moment, around 50% of their sales are casualwear. And I am quite the English gentleman, as you know!

Who was the Dunhill customer, and who is it now with you in charge?
Dunhill has a very loyal following of a wide variety of guys. All I want to do is introduce it to a different person, without alienating the older customer.

What direction will you take the brand? Will you go dandy? Punk? Street hustler?
I will take it modern. That's what Alfred Dunhill was all about: luxury, travel and the best of everything.

What does this mean for your own line?
I'm stopping my line to focus on this. It's a dream job for me to do a British men's house and I want to give it all my time. I'd like to use this opportunity to say thank you to all the people that have supported me and my team.

Will Jude Law stay on as the face of Dunhill?
Absolutely. Although, at the moment, I do have an odd crush on Kermit the Frog. Is that weird?

Kim with Kanye West and Takashi Murakami (plus two from Takashi's team)...

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