Dunhill and Connor McKnight Forged a Transatlantic Partnership to Make Met Gala History
Dunhill creative director Mark Weston was tasked with dressing a star for the Met Gala for the first time this year, and Josh O’Connor, star of The Crown and one of the world’s best-dressed young actors, seemed like the perfect match. O’Connor, Weston said, is “super energetic and passionate” about clothes—he works with stylist Harry Lambert, who also dresses Harry Styles and Emma Corrin, and he loves eccentric British designers like Jonathan Anderson.
There were only two problems: first, Dunhill is a British brand, and this year’s theme was American style. And two, pandemic restrictions kept Weston, who is based in the United Kingdom, from traveling to the United States.
To solve for the quirks of their situation, Lambert hit on an out-there idea: what if Weston and Lambert collaborated with a young New York-based designer? That way, they could solve both their problems, while also bringing some American ingenuity to the look. In an industry where individual genius is a closely guarded notion, this was basically an unprecedented proposition. But Weston was game, and so Lambert suggested Connor McKnight—a Bode alum who has only shown two collections.
Lambert introduced the two, and they began what Weston refers to as “a creative connection”—something technically like a collaboration, and yet much more fluid, and more relaxed. “I love working that way,” Weston said. “Roll with it and see where it goes.”
As McKnight put it in an interview at his packed presentation, for just his second collection, in midtown last Friday, “They sent me an email and I was like, Why wouldn’t I?”