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Questions about dunhill and luxury brand history

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Alfie Zhan, Oct 15, 2016.

  1. Alfie Zhan

    Alfie Zhan Member

    Aug 18, 2012
    Hello everyone, new guy here.

    I used looking fashion clothes and shoes from Emporio Armani Prada or YSL . I never really focus on dunhill untill recently I need a new wallet, after looking at Prada Gucci and some other brand around the same price range, i choose dunhill and really like the quality and texture of the leather at this price point.

    So I started doing some research about dunhill brand. To me, the brand's market position is more expensive and exclusive than Hugo Boss, Paul Smith, Kenzo but less exclusive and Influential comparing to E.zegna Valentino Giorgio Armani or PRADA. Probably in the same league with testoni , montblanc . Both of those brands remaining made in Europe but less expensive comparing to the top tier brand.

    What I am curious is that I did some research and dunhill as a 100 years old luxury brand, most of its history it is famous for cigar and pipe instead of luxury leather good and clothes. What I know is that the brand started as a luxury fashion house is in the last 10 years when Richemont bought it and hiring Former president of Cartier, Simon Critchell, and CEO of Richemont in North America, was put in charge of getting the Dunhill brand back on track after expansion in product lines and markets led to confusion around its brand identity with Jude law as the face of brand, hiring their first creative director in 2008 and 2010 is their first fashion show appearance!

    I can't find anything about dunhill campaign or ad related about menswear or luxury leather good in 1990's or before. So When did this brand started making leather goods shoes and RTW ? Even the confusing Valentino brand which i am interested recently ( they have some really nice and cool stuff) having a lot information about RTW show in the 90's or before . For me a true luxury brand should have catwalk show for a long time.

    So most time of dunihll's history , it is not recognized as a fashion house focusing on clothes like Armani? But a cigar company? How shocking!( and ironic). I always thought dunhill produce fine business wear and suite for a long time .

    By the way , most of the famous italian labels are found in 1980s . And not much information or historic image you can find about Gucci or Chanel or Loewe before 1990, most of the image, campaign and history about those brand is in the last 20 years. So what do people wear or using in 1960's or 1980's? Can you find a Gucci or Vuitton boutique in 1980?You don't find big name boutiques in Beverly hills or high end department stores at the time?
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2016
  2. Alfie Zhan

    Alfie Zhan Member

    Aug 18, 2012
  3. David Reeves

    David Reeves Well-Known Member

    Feb 16, 2009
    New York
    Surely it's about what they do now? Heritage is great but how can you expect a fashion brand to have "catwalk collections" out for a long time without being a fashion brand?

    There were very few of those boutiques worldwide in the 80s I even remember a time when in England you could only get Prada at one store in London and that was the 90s. I also had a pair of Prada glasses when they first got into doing eyewear, the design and quality was excellent, they were very expensive and only carried in a store in London and one in Leeds, now of course they are everywhere. I remember someone flat out not believing me that Prada even did eyewear.

    A lot of these brands have ebbs and flows, at one point Gucci was very naff and so was Burberry. They may not be proud of all of there heritage (boss, I'm not going there) and of course they are fashion so they do like to focus on the now. Pierre Cardin and Halston were unasalable luxury brands and designers until they cheapened there brands and largely disappeared, but in the right hands I could see them making a resurgence.

    Quality and popularity in a fashion house is not usually something that is constant and they often reinvent themselves and there's nothing wrong with that.

    Dunhill does some lovely product now, if you like it as well maybe pick some of it up.
    1 person likes this.
  4. Thin White Duke

    Thin White Duke Well-Known Member

    Dec 5, 2010
    Good answer Reevesie!

    The image of brands and labels ebbs and flows over time for a number of reasons.
    Also the perceived history and heritage is a very nebulous method of judging a brand's quality and value in the present. Some allegedly historic brands have been bought over and/or revived by companies who have nothing to do with the original instigators. Others belong to giant conglomerates like that Louis Vuitton Hennssy company that seems to be buying brands all over the map, or Luxxotica which IIRC owns Armani as well as just about every brand of eyewear in Sunglasses Hut.

    So to the OP - quit worrying about some imaginary league table of how highly esteemed various brands are. If you see something by Dunhill that you like then get it. They make some very nice stuff at a high price and personally I wouldn't be sweating too much over the brand image of my wallet! On a personal level I saw a royal blue briefcase in the Dunhill shop that looked great but when I handled it, the leather was that stiff cardboard textured stuff similar to the LV branded Vuitton stuff. Not worth $1000. I ended up getting a beautiful blue bag in much nicer quality leather from Piquadro. For $350.
  5. comrade

    comrade Well-Known Member

    May 10, 2005
    Menlo Park, CA
    To complicate the discussion of Dunhill Ltd's entry into tailored clothing,
    In 1985 Dunhill Ltd. ( tobacco, etc ) acquired New York bespoke tailor
    "Dunhill Tailors" ( no relation ) My comments on probably the best bespoke
    in New York from 2009:

    Dunhill Tailors

    A wonderful store. In RTW they featured several models
    which were basically a hybrid Saville Row/ Ivy League
    look, eg. side vents but natural shoulders. I got a summer
    suit there in the early 80s ... very elegant and distinctive.
    I still have some of their shirts which look stylish 20 years later.
    No one has mentioned , but I recall that their furnishings
    department was staffed by delicious young females, a apt
    counterpoint to the otherwise clubby atmosphere. After
    their purchase by Dunhill ( Tobacco,etc.) in 1985, the Manhattan
    store still claimed to have the MTM and Bespoke service of
    the original Dunhill Tailors. Into the 90s this store did have
    try-ons of the Dunhull Tailors models. This service was not
    available in the San Francisco store.
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2016
  6. Alfie Zhan

    Alfie Zhan Member

    Aug 18, 2012
    Thanks, appreciated! I have no idea about the situation in the 80s or 90s, so I was very surprised that there was only one Prada store in London ( Because I found Louis Vuitton Gucci Chanel from the movie Pretty women, the Rodeo Drive looked exactly the same as it is today.) By the way I agree that dunhill made some really nice leather goods, in my opinion its leather quality and texture is better than Prada (I don't like saffiano leather). But dunhill's RTW is a bit too old unless I need to wear formal clothes. I think they should hire a new creative director and transfer the brand from a traditional one to fashion- luxury house like LV, Valentino, Gucci......etc, at least that is what Burberry is doing in the past 16 years so that people will talk about you, brand would have a good image and so you can sell your product in a higher price point .

    Can I ask one more question?

    About Armani, For a long time, most people considering Armani Collezioni as a second tier brand in the group, and EA usually considering for young people and the style is casual, in moderate price, not a luxury brand etc.

    I owned several clothes from EA in the past few years and the quality, style is very good, when you check armani.com or go there boutique, you can see the Emporio is usually more expensive than Collezioni, there are very few EA stores in the United States but you can find AC in many department stores and outlets ,so I really got confused about why so many people considering EA as cheaper and lower tier image line, and Collezioni a better one? By the way I had been to EA boutique in Las Vegas and NYC and I never spotted a teenage or young client in the store, the customer is usually white collar in their 30s or older, so is there anything wrong with Emporio's brand strategy?

    When you check WSJ(http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702304908304579565261914045736), you can see that the price point of Armani is Prive-GA-EA-AC-AJ, and "
    In addition to couture line Armani Privé, the group includes Giorgio Armani and Emporio Armani, the company's ready-to-wear lines that show at Milan fashion week. In addition, selling at lower prices are Armani Collezioni, Armani Exchange and Armani Jeans."
    " the largest chunk of retail expansion has been for Armani Jeans and Armani Collezioni. At the end of last year, there were 722 Armani Jeans stores, up from 21 in 2010. Armani Collezioni stores have increased 15-fold and now account for one-fifth of the group's retail outlets. The number of Armani Exchange stores increased 34% to 270."
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2016
  7. Alfie Zhan

    Alfie Zhan Member

    Aug 18, 2012

    Wow I thought dunhill only made pipe in the 80s and 90s lol. I don't they it has such a long time history of making fine Tailoring clothes. BTW the oldest dunhill store that is still operated is in Paris. I remember it opened in 60s.
  8. dreamspace

    dreamspace Well-Known Member

    Apr 8, 2012
    I have recently made Dunhill, and I'm happy with the products. Same price as Ermenegildo Zegna mainline, and also made to the same standards by Ermenegildo Zegna. So, I guess if you like E. Zegna, but would like a more conservative styling, Dunhill would probably be a good option.
  9. Alfie Zhan

    Alfie Zhan Member

    Aug 18, 2012

    As I remember correctly, dunhill's fabric is produced by E Zegna?

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