Tuesday, June 14, 2016

BEAUTY: Clothing--Wales Bonner

I confess that Wales Bonner, the eponymous label of Grace Wales Bonner, was not on my radar until this collection. But cut me some slack: this is technically her first show ever after a period at talent incubators Fashion East and MAN. She may be only 25 but she has already won a British Fashion Award as an emerging talent, and she is now nominated for the 2016 LVMH Prize. An auspicious start to a career that seems, right out of the gate if we can judge from this collection, daring and rich.

Taking her cue from the 1930 crowning of Haile Selassie as emperor of Ethiopia, the look is a mash-up of official, ceremonial, military--and even religious--silhouettes from Europe with touches of pan-African details. Capes, tail coats, and frock coats are embellished with hints of the tri-colored Ethiopian flag (the traditional "Rasta" colors), and cowrie shells, that ubiquitous object used in Africa as decoration on clothing, as beads, and as divination tools. On the surface, the monochrome palette might coat the collection with an air of simplicity, but the technical execution of the garments and the inspiration is anything but.


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