COLOURS and motifs, inspired by the Mediterranean and the south of France, parade through menswear from Alfred Dunhill, lending a festive air to ties, polo shirts and knitwear. Leisure shirts take their cue from this theme, as a range of muted blues rubs shoulders with bright yellow, green and blue checks. More roomy and relaxed than business shirts, these have a comfortable silhouette and a new collar option as well as the normal shirt collar and button-down styles. 'This is the first season we have had one-piece collars,' said Shirley Kong, the retail merchandise manager. 'Whereas a business shirt collar is two pieces, one underneath against the neck and the outer piece you can see, these are cut in one piece. It is younger looking and more casual.' Another new direction for Alfred Dunhill is a line of printed silk ties with native designs. These also pick up on the Mediterranean theme with vivid colours and motifs of yachts, umbrellas, trees and bubble cars. The ties are popular, with sales in Hong Kong reaching 2,000 last month. 'We have a big share of the market because we have an unrivalled variety of patterns, designs and colours,' Ms Kong said. Humorous designs featuring such motifs as sheep with a single sheepdog, or hounds with a single bone are a hit. Classic woven ties are favoured by professionals. For a look of total sophistication, Alfred Dunhill sells silk pochettes which pick up on one or two colours from the ties, but in a different pattern. 'That is a small design detail but, if you know how to dress well, it is important,' Ms Kong said. Some tie designs are also translated into prints on polo shirts, which come in an array of colours. French joie de vivre has also influenced colours in knitwear this season. These line up alongside more muted tones in soft and textured items. 'We have silk/cashmere and cotton/linen blends of knitwear in cable patterns,' Ms Kong said. 'We keep our cashmere knitwear in classic colours for all year round but have pastel colours in silk and cashmere one-ply slipovers for early spring.' Aside from the loose-knit waistcoats, Alfred Dunhill has a special waistcoat in fine, lightweight goat suede. 'We have colours such as peach and the fabric is fabulous and good value at $5,900,' Ms Kong said. She said the current trend towards more casual dressing was having a positive impact on sales of sports jackets. 'People are trying to dress down so, if someone wears a sports jacket with colour co-ordinated trousers, it is more relaxed and less formal than a suit,' she said. Alfred Dunhill always puts a seasonal colour into its sports jackets and this time the basic colour groups of blue, grey and neutrals are highlighted with shades of green to tie in with the south of France theme. 'There are some accents of green going through the pattern, like green hound's-tooth so it brightens up the outfit,' Ms Kong said. To go with the sports jackets, Alfred Dunhill suggests formal trousers in shades of blue, grey or neutrals as well as small checked patterns. 'They are in a really classic silhouette with two front pleats,' Ms Kong said. More informal cotton trousers, with a comfortable, easy silhouette, co-ordinate with the leisure shirts and blouson outerwear for relaxed weekend wear. A new three-quarter-length blouson in treated cotton offers a younger-looking alternative and features an adjustable waistline. As for Alfred Dunhill's tailoring, the colour groups follow those of the sports jackets without the green accents. 'We have a wide choice of lightweight fabrics in superfine wool, silk and linen mixes and patterns are subtle checks, fine pinstripes and herringbones,' Ms Kong said. 'We have a new emphasis on single-breasted three-button jackets which are young looking,' Ms Kong said, adding that they only came in one or two fabrics but were holding their own. 'Obviously, we still keep our classic look of two-button jackets and suits.' A relaxed, easy silhouette is strongly featured this season, with looser shoulders. A super-light, textured blazer in wool crepe offers an alternative to the classic Alfred Dunhill style. Business shirts co-ordinate with the suits and popular designs include small checks, Bengal stripes and 'end-on-end' patterns. 'From afar, you can see only one colour but, when you look closely, it is tiny micro-checks, like an Oxford cotton. That is what we call end-on-end,' Ms Kong said.