Monday 13th June

| BY Jack Moss

Wales Bonner: Menswear SS17

For her first solo showing outside of Fashion East, Wales Bonner conjured up the figure of Haile Selassie, Emperor of Ethiopia from 1930 to 1974. And man that, so we are told, is considered amongst the Rastafari movement to be the returned messiah of the Bible. Which, as with Grace’s previous collections, provided a rich poetry to the collection, the clothing serene, dreamlike, a ponderance on the prophecy of a black messiah – “beneath the brightness, worlds bridge, mirage – look forward, new promises, new beginnings,” read the accompanying notes. There was tailoring, exquisitely realised, and, for London anyway, surprisingly pared back, ceremonial in shape, alluding to military processions, badges sat on the model’s chests like medals. The palette of black, white, with touches of red and blue, was simple, the clothing instead elevated with embellishment – dots of shells, the embroidered capes, that mask of collected jewels that hung over one of the model’s faces. The result was a fusion of historical references, combined by the 25-year-old designer (yes, 25, we know, we feel old too) into something altogether more modern, transporting and engrossing. Oh and as we should probably mention, there was womenswear too, for the first time, which provided much groans of excitement from editors of the female persuasion. Because ultimately, these are clothes that people actually want to wear. This was a collection that spoke of promise – and the promise, in particular, that of the very talented Grace Wales Bonner. Here’s to many, many more.

www.walesbonner.net