Thursday, August 4, 2011
For the past few seasons, Alfred Dunhill has done the opposite of every other menswear brand on the market – instead of showcasing its new collections on pretty young boys, the company has tapped men of extraordinary talent, ability and achievement to front its ad campaigns. Last season's protagonists included legendary interviewer David Frost, violin virtuoso Charlie Siem and artist Harland Miller; this season's are ballet dancer Rupert Pennefather, theatre director Michael Grandage and expedition leader Sir Ranulph Fiennes. Alongside the print campaign, a series of videos were shot capturing the men talking about their lives, their work, their struggles and philosophies. The videos are brilliant – character revealing, insightful and inspiring. In this setting, the clothes take on a secondary role; they're dressing the man, not defining him.
Menswear films are big business right now, from Jake Davis' Test Shots to all those artful short films going behind the scenes at artisan manufacturers, and these are some of the best I've seen yet. The thing I like most (besides the stories) is how they show what the clothes look like on real-life men. As far as I can tell, it's a genius marketing move. The key to selling fashion is creating aspiration – and what's more aspirational than a bunch of guys who have genuinely achieved, looking great in their clothes with no air-brushing necessary? Alfred Dunhill is onto a good thing.
And my personal favourite from last season: David Frost on making a difference.
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