Now More Online: The Classic Dunhill
Published January 21, 2011
PHOTO OF CHARLIE SIEM BY DAVID SIMS, COURTESY OF DUNHILL
Alfred Dunhill came of age in London the early 1890s at the peak of Victoriana, an era that in its more liberated moments championed innovation and personal ingenuity. The young Dunhill was blessed with foresight and an enterprising eye: as “motoring” began to emerge as a gentleman’s sport, he spotted opportunity and a logical business parlay, evolving his family’s saddlery business into a company that provided “Everything for the car but the motor.” The label’s cachet would soar, and Dunhill established itself as one of Britain’s go-to lines for upscale menswear, fine gadgetry, and accessories. Over the years, larger-than-life acolytes from literal (the Duke of Windsor) to fictional (James Bond) have famously espoused Dunhill—even Pablo Picasso was rumored to be a fan. Fast-forward to the present, and you have a brand more than a hundred years old that still has the élan to stay at the forefront of progress. Recently, Dunhill’s latest incarnation is in the cyber realm, having successfully branched into the fetal realm of digital branded content via its new Day 8 platform. Touting itself to reflect the “world viewed through the Dunhill eye,” Day 8 is a tightly curated offshoot of Dunhill.com, art-directed fashion exercise, and advanced iPad app all in one.
Day 8 categorizes its spiritual cornerstones strategically, its aesthetic pentagon a testament to elegance, culture, travel, intelligence, and creativity. Unlike other sites that aggregate content, Day 8 delivers its stories with deliberate exclusivity. In homage to its brand founder, Dunhill continues to champion the concept of the modern inventor, and Day 8 nicely elucidates revelatory moments for contemporary technology, art, design, and beyond. Recent subjects of Day 8 profiles include Min Kyu Choi, inventor of the “Folding Plug,” violin virtuoso Charlie Siem, as well as Chris Milk, who founded the Johnny Cash Project. At the core of the Day 8 virtual universe (a world most definitively experienced on the iPad) is a cinematic tour of Alfred Dunhill’s luxe collection of retail “homes,” some of which are well-publicized local landmarks in locations such as Hong Kong and Tokyo. Of course, the idealized navigation of Dunhill’s microcosm means blending reality and fantasy: London-based illustrator Chris Dent imagined a composite of cityscapes to complement the Dunhill aesthetic. A series of short films, the most compelling media Day 8 has produced thus far, documents the process. In a stroke of symbolic global solidarity, Dent births the ultimate chic international posh neighborhood, creatively situating the Oriental Pearl (based in Shanghai) alongside the Millennium Dome (in London). His personalized vision of unity has been met with such a positive reaction that signed prints are currently being sold from Dunhill.com—alongside a full selection of the company’s high-end goods, naturally.