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 Charmed by the aesthetics of menswear over womenswear, Wales Bonner collections are rooted in historical references and explore representations of black male identity and sexuality.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.
Focusing on the East for her SS16 collection, Wales Bonner was influenced by 16th century Ethiopian leader, Malik Ambar – child slave turned Indian ruler. Taking traditional high society dress codes, Bonner makes a commentary on the depiction of powerful black males with a collection of exquisite crushed velvet pieces and embellished cowrie shell headpieces and accessories. Inspired by Orientalist painters of the 19th century, Bonner takes the idea of the ‘exotic’ and translates it through luxury fabrics and intricate embellishments. Disrupting the Western narrative and channelling notions of masculinity, Bonner includes humble linen shirts, tight T-shirts and flared pants creating a multi-layered approach to contemporary menswear.
SHIPPING & RETURN
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