Now established as one of the most significant names in London fashion, Grace Wales Bonner launched her latest collection at AW18 London menswear show this week. The 25-year-old South Londoner who is of British and Jamaican descent creates impeccably glamorous tailoring for men and representing black men in ways that are almost diametrically opposite to the style of rap culture. “Fashion seems to be where most daring ideas about identity start to translate and then be interpreted into more mainstream ideas, so I think it’s really good that people are challenging ideas about what a man can be and look like.”
She is the recipient of the 2016 LVMH Prize, an initiative that Delphine Arnault—the Executive Vice President of Louis Vuitton helped to devise just a few short years ago, and one that’s already gained critical momentum when it comes to thrusting young designers’ names into the global limelight.
With a cultured and deeply intellectual collection, Spring 2017 was her first independently presented collection after being in the London-based Fashion East and MAN incubators that paid homage to the panache of Haile Selassie, the late Ethiopian emperor. “The influence of Selassie’s ceremonial attire permeates classical dress,” she explains, “I am very interested in postcolonial theory, black literature, and post-black literature. . . writing, research in these worlds go together with the design of each of my collections. ”