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PFW: Wales Bonner presents SS21 with a digital film

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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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 electric blue.

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 producer.

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 2016.

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

Grace Wales Bonner
Paris Fashion Week