When John Ray walked away from the fashion industry, in 2006, after a decade of turning out beautifully calibrated menswear for Gucci, he hid in his native Scotland with no plans to return. But then Dunhill came calling in 2012. “I sensed a challenge, a chance to be British and international,” says Ray. Since then, he has brought relevance to a storied but waning house that had seemed unlikely to rally.
With eight-button blazers and torso-skimming single-button jackets for spring 2015 and printed swim shorts so dazzlingly natty that to call them camp is just plain lazy, Ray is yet again having a pitch-perfect ball. Touches of classic British sportswear run through his collections without ever resorting to Blighty clichés. “The product needs to be contemporary, and that means playing with new proportions in the cutting,” he says. “These are men’s clothes for today’s urban world.” You want appropriate with a dash of modernity? Well, that’s why Dunhill went north. Welcome back, Mr. Ray.