For a Christmas campaign, dunhill’s this season is not typically, well, Christmas-y. There’s no excessive use of tinsel, Christmas baubles, or mistletoe. Nor is there the traditional concept of a white Christmas. In fact, the dunhill Crush campaign is rather abstract and progressive for a sartorial brand like dunhill.
It’s a design aesthetic that Mark Weston has championed since becoming helming dunhill’s creative direction.
While the clothes have stayed true to dunhill’s British gentlemen roots, they are sleeker and more streamlined; a reflection of the times. Weston takes a more considered approach to the ideas behind each collection, and at times, references the many facets of art and culture. It comes as no surprise then that dunhill has tapped design duo Fredrikson Stallard for its non-traditional (and artsy) Christmas campaign.
We speak to Fredrikson Stallard on the idea behind the campaign and how the collaboration came about.
ESQ: What was the inspiration behind the collaboration?
FREDRIKSON STALLARD: Master craftsmanship is at the heart of how we create. This is the true for dunhill also, so it appeals to us to work alongside them. It’s about creating works that have a dialogue with their pieces, audience and its surrounding. It is such a great pleasure to work with a company that has an amazing design heritage and also a fantastic creative director, Mark Weston, who is driving that heritage into the future.
ESQ: The dunhill Crush works seem to energise the inanimate dunhill accessories. What is the thought process like when creating art for a specific purpose; in this case, to work with shoes and accessories?
FREDRIKSON STALLARD: We don’t really think of dunhill accessories as inanimate, they come to life through human interaction. Our works for dunhill have an urge to connect, both with their surroundings in terms of form and reflection, both inwards and outwards, and demand the immediate attention of an audience. An audience who, as with the Rorschach ink blot, is given the power to perceive their own ideas in the abstractions they are presented with. the works have an extreme precision of task within their bodies which at first glance may have appeared haphazard or inconclusive. They are in fact neither. In their baroque simplicity they are truly inclusive, collaborative. They are yours. They are what you want, desire and need.
ESQ: Conversely, how do you approach making art? Does it start with a specific inspiration? Or an end goal perhaps?
FREDRIKSON STALLARD: The sculptural qualities of our works are born from the desires of instinct, reality, authenticity, aftermath, disruption, the creation of a subconscious collage.
ESQ: Most of your works deal with distorted shapes that seem almost organic. Is there a personal connection to disorder and quiet chaos?
FREDRIKSON STALLARD: Our focus is in the performance of creation, to capture the energy of instinctive, instantaneous inspiration, a record of an energetic moment, the tactical disruption of structure, and the careful choreography of its aftermath. We often deploy technology to reveal a new dimension within these gestural beginnings, shifting our perception through a nuanced appreciation and manipulation of scale, materiality and functional attributes. In this way we reunite thought and feeling, Ego and Id, subconscious irrationality and reason.
ESQ: There has always been an ongoing debate about how fashion is not really art. Or at least not in the same stature as other forms of art such as sculpture or paintings. What’s your opinion on this?
FREDRIKSON STALLARD: For us there are not barriers in terms of culture and spirit between design, art, fashion or other creative fields. It is the interactions that drive culture.
Any creative discipline can potentially be considered art. I would say that some fashion designers rate amongst the greatest artists of our time. Alexander McQueen is an excellent illustration of this. Categories of art and design are entirely fluid, as shown by history.
ESQ: What does ‘art’ mean to you?
FREDRIKSON STALLARD: For us? Life.