by Stephen Garner

From “Country House” to “Acid House”, the duality of British clothing cultures comes to the fore in this season’s Dunhill collection. Embracing both tradition and subversion, crossing British cultures and class boundaries, is both wryly looked at and celebrated in the collection.

The subversion of country living for city streets – so beloved of eighties Sloanes and their casual counterparts – finds new form here, together with an element of modern Japanese classicism and volume. Relaxed, wrapped tailoring takes the place of the classic double-breasted jacket, fusing a new, sinuous elegance with a kimono approach to cutting; split hem trousers nod to an eighties casual code, together with the gaiters of the country gent; sumptuous eveningwear fabrics find more utilitarian form with silk faille and moire taking the place of the technical and traditional for field jackets and informal tailoring.

In turn, sturdy British corduroy is fluidly cut to fall with slouchy elegance, its grooves echoing through luxurious leather bonded knits and the subtly expanding pinstripes of engineered cloth. While traditional wools are coated or twisted – with the addition of cashmere – elevating notions of the mere rough and rustic, to the quietly opulent and extravagant.

“For me, duality is the recurring theme of Dunhill – it’s one of the defining elements,” said Mark Weston, creative director of Dunhill. “This season I wanted that rediscovery of sophistication, of having the confidence for quietness and discretion. It is the attraction in looking at someone who understands a certain aesthetic language and style, but they’re not shouting about it. At the same time, there is still an idea of playing with the parameters of taste and the re-contextualization of menswear cultures, which is something very British. It’s where eighties Sloane Ranger, terrace casual and Japanese austerity intersect, in that dramatic subversion of city and country attire. Yet it is not about looking back, it is a fluidity in menswear that feels right for today.”