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British fashion designer Grace Wales Bonner made her digital debut
during Paris Fashion Week with a continued exploration of the diasporic
connections between Britain and the Caribbean.
‘Essence’ continues the narrative of Wales Bonner’s autumn/winter 2020
‘Lovers Rock’ collection, which examined the British Jamaican community in
London in the seventies. For spring/summer 2021, the designer explores the
early eighties origination of dancehall music in Jamaica, while refining
what she calls the “purest elements” of the brand’s wardrobe offering.
Wales Bonner mixes the flamboyance Jamaican dancehall style with more
traditional British tailoring to create a collection filled with contrast
and intricate detailing. From hybrid sports tailoring enhanced with striped
satin to elevated jockey silks combined with patchworked corduroy in
Shirt-making is prominent in the collection, inspired by Jermyn Street
makers, and is manifested in the relaxed elegance of a cut dress shirt
inspired by Augustus Pablo, a Jamaican roots reggae and dub record
There is a fluidity and effortless ease about the silhouettes, allowing
the pieces to work for both menswear and womenswear, and there is a
uniformity presented in military detailing and gold emblems.
Highlights include the preppy knit sets, the striped crepe pyjamas
crafted with frayed finishings, as well as the cedar brown striped
tailoring wool suits, and check tailored separates.
Grace Wales Bonner showcases spring/summer 2021 collection with digital
film and e-zine
The collection also sees the development of the womenswear, expressed
with the introduction of silk and crochet dresses. The standout looks
included floor-length crochet dresses and the brown check skirt suit.
The softer colour palette reveals her continued collaboration with
Adidas Originals. Wales Bonner introduces slimline retro-style tracksuits
in pink and ivory crochet, canvas and leather plimsolls, as well as ivory
topstitched football boots.
The presentation film, ‘Thinkin Home’ is shot by director Jeano Edwards
in Jamaica and showcases the SS21 collection against the lush scenery of
the Caribbean island with an 80s dancehall, reggae soundtrack.
In addition, Wales Bonner also produced a digital magazine, ‘Reflections
on Essence’ which offers her audience source material that has informed and
inspired her first collections in a three-part series that explores
connections between Britain and Jamaica. The publication features original
commissions by Ekow Eshun and Mahfuz Sultan, as well as the designer
herself and aims to be an exploration of Black culture, as well as allowing
her customers to discover the background behind her clothes.
Grace Wales Bonner launched her eponymous label in 2014, following her
graduation from Central Saint Martins. The British designer has won
numerous accolades including the Emerging Menswear Designer at the British
Fashion Awards in 2015, followed up with the LVMH Young Designer Prize in
Established initially as a menswear brand, Wales Bonner’s soulful
tailoring soon expanded to womenswear, and the designer is now stocked in
Selfridges, Harrods, Dover Street Market, Net-A-Porter, Ssense,
Matchesfashion.com, Printemps, Boon the Shop and Bergdorf Goodman.
Images: courtesy of Wales Bonner by Sean and Seng