Alfred Dunhill: Trafalgar Shanghai

Awestruck.

That’s the only word I can think of to describe how I felt after my experience at Trafalgar on 16 March. Hosted by Alfred Dunhill at The Silver Hall in Shanghai, the global unveiling of their complete F/W12 collection left me, well, speechless, and with a brand new appreciation for such a revered brand.

But let’s rewind and go back to the beginning. It’s not often that I get invited to full-on press junkets that feature a full collection, much less to witness the unveiling of one that hadn’t been previewed anywhere else before. So when I received the invite, I was really excited, to say the least.

With over 1000 guests in attendance, the show began with 64 Asian models posed perfectly on stone plinths representing those at Trafalgar Square, London, hence the name, of course. The British luxury men’s line showcased the timeless elegance of the collection in a simulation of all four seasons in a day. Created by holographically projecting one of the longest single CGI sequences ever made, spring began at dawn, followed by summer at noon, autumn at dusk and finally, the night ended with winter.

Drums filled the air, followed by an ethereal performance by British violin virtuoso Charlie Siem. The music was the perfect accompaniment to the scenes that unravelled so movingly and dramatically. As if all that weren’t enough to overwhelm the senses, the atmosphere was further heightened by the mystery of film noir inspired lighting and a fragrance inspired by the natural scent of the air after a rain by fragrance house Firmenich.

Yours truly, and probably everyone present, was captivated from the first second, when a virtual tree began to grow. As each scene progressed into the next, spotlights changed and the models appeared in the appropriate outfits for each season. Finally it all culminated with the models as if ensconced within a gradually darkening giant snow globe. It was moving. I was impressed. In fact, I was close to tears. And I’m sure I wasn’t the only one.

Looking back at it now, the message that Alfred Dunhill so successfully portrayed was that the legacy of this historical design house isn’t really geared towards fashion, but timelessly elegant and wearable pieces that will take you from season to season with ease. It continues to stay relevant in this day and age, but on its own terms. Instead of bending itself around trends, it’s all about building the Alfred Dunhill man.

As Jason Beckley, Global Marketing Director, was quoted, ‘Alfred Dunhill has been making things properly for over 120 years. It’s amazing to put on something or to carry something that’s properly made. You can feel it straight away, it is different. I think that in a modern, super-fast world, we forget that. This is a brand all about doing things to the very best that they can be done. Trafalgar is a celebration of that.’

Personally, Trafalgar opened my eyes to another facet of fashion that’s often overlooked. Dressing for oneself rather than chasing trends. The collection showed that one can look dapper on any day of the year with the ease of mixing and matching existing pieces from the Trafalgar wardrobe, or any other that’s as beautifully curated as this one.

On a cool rainy day like today, I close my eyes and the scenes and sensations from the presentation continue to flood my mind. Yes, definitely still awestruck.

Click here to watch the presentation, leave a comment, or two, and view the F/W12 collection in full.

Or watch it here. Enjoy.

Images & Video: Alfred Dunhill

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