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If there’s one name you need to know in British menswear, it’s Grace Wales Bonner. The south London-born, Central Saint Martins-trained fashion designer enthralled editors and stylists with her first collection, Ebonics, during SS15.
Having won fashion’s most coveted LVMH prize in 2016, Wales Bonner returned to the London stage with a firm list of accolades and supporters behind her, and is now considered a must-know menswear designer. Bonner is famously exclusive, inviting only a select few to attend her shows – an act which is savvy as it is reflective of her unique brand. Collections create narratives inspired by East Africa and the Caribbean, as well as the works by the likes of James Baldwin, Ralph Ellison and Marlon Riggs. Here, the manipulation and materials themselves – crushed silks, top-stitched denim, mohair, Swarovski crystals and studs – embody a crucial part of the design narrative. Her creations are considerate, precise and refined, and it was to everyone’s delight that her AW17 collection, entitled Spirituals II, surpassed already high expectations.
Drawing inspiration from ideas of global street culture, models dressed in styles inspired by Dakar, the Caribbean and London walked to booming melodies of musicians Elysia Crampton and Sampha. Of particular note were a series of monastic, all-white designs that referenced her AW16 Spirituals collection. The collection offered a fresh syntax of established looks: backless leather brogues and square ties to accompany linen suits; dalmatian fur collars on soft leather jackets; tweed duffle coats with matching polo ensembles; cinched waists on cashmere zip up jumpers, and checked patent racer trousers accompanied by matching mini clutches. All hats were designed by Stephen Jones, who imbued an already captivating collection with a heightened sense of theatre.
Read Culture Trip‘s round-up of the menswear trends you need to know about in 2017.