Wales Bonner: Menswear SS18
There was something different about this. It was sleeker. Dare we say sexier? Sort of. As Grace said of the collection afterwards: “’I was thinking about sensuality, not sexuality.” So what does sensuality look like? Lean and long, apparently. That was the silhouette, interrupted only by the bare skin of a chest or an arm, or the slightest of flare at the end of a trouser. It was certainly more minimal that Grace’s previous collections – gone in whole was the previous fixation embellishments, choosing to display richness instead through the fabrics themselves – buttery leathers, crisp poplin, patches of suede. Colours were stark – optic white, military green, black, flashes of blue – but interest came through in the prints, which were also new for Grace, newsprint faces or flashes of male nudes.
But, whilst this was stripped back to something far more minimal – Grace’s celebration, and fascination with, black culture remained – here, coming through as an exploration of author James Baldwin’s legacy his effect on queer culture for men of colour. And the word “legacy” is important here, because it pertains to the past, yes, but also the present. What does that culture look like now? How do I envisage these men and women, and how they would dress? And how can those clothes be imbued with power? Those are the questions that Grace posed, and answered, in part, this season. But what was clear was that Wales Bonner, in her second collection since her LVMH prize win, has her eyes set squarely on the future.
Photographs by Jason Lloyd-Evans