South East London-born Grace Wales Bonner graduated from Central Saint Martins in 2014. After winning the L’Oréal Professionnel Talent Award for her graduate ‘Afrique’ collection, she assisted Camilla Nickerson in New York, debuted her AW15 collection at Fashion East at London Collections: Men to critical acclaim, and was subsequently invited to the V&A’s prestigious Fashion in Motion programme. Charmed by the aesthetics of menswear over womenswear, Wales Bonner collections are rooted in historical references and explore representations of black male identity and sexuality. With a cross-cultural hybrid approach, Bonner explores the masculine/feminine dialogue; creating pieces that fuse European and African luxury fashions and explore the notion of masculinity.
Wales Bonner approaches her SS17 collection titled ‘Ezekiel’ with her signature thematic narrative; centring on the 1930 crowning of the Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie, the collection creates a modern discourse constructed from perceptions spanning East Africa, West Africa, the Caribbean and Europe. Continuing her elaborate and rich codes of dressing, the collection features crushed velvet frock coats, crochet-trimmed leathers, embroidered cropped capes and shell-embellished jackets. A harmonious blend of ceremonial attires, religious uniforms and military wears, the line-up is refined in its flamboyancy; oversized linen shirts, satin blouses, slim tailored pants and pleated skirts all discreetly decorated with charms, crystals and cowrie shells.
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