Saturday, December 9, 2023

Lookbook: Grace Wales Bonner’s S/S’15 “Afrique” Collection

While we’re busy thinking all things ‘Celebration’ here on the site this month, the new name on everyone’s lips, Grace Wales Bonner has presented an amazing collection inspired by Nigerian culture, celebrating black self-representation and titled “Afrique.”

The Central Saint Martins student, who whose collection earned her the 2014 L’Oreal Professional Designer of the Year prize, explained to DIS Magazine that her brilliant menswear range, intended for Spring/Summer’15, hailed from her 10,000 word dissertation;

“…On the turning point in black expression around the late ‘60s, early ‘70s. This idea of taking ownership of your representation, working inside established frames of reference to create something new.

Ms Wales Bonner's design on the catwalk at LC:M Spring/Summer'15
Ms Wales Bonner’s designs – which she describes as “Coco Chanel via Lagos” – on the catwalk at LC:M Spring/Summer’15

It was about real people taking out cameras and turning them on themselves and being like, ‘this is me, this is what Africa is – it’s not what you want Africa to be.’”

The designer also explains that;

“Samuel Fosso is a massive inspiration and was a big starting point because he was a photographer in Lagos in the ‘70s. He had a photo studio and at the end of every roll of film, he’d take a photo of himself in his own clothes – he had such incredible style – and send these photos to his mum.

It was this idea of not being a document, but being the person that’s creating the image; confusing people and having layers and not fitting into people’s ideas of things.”

Shot by Dexter Lander and styled and art directed herself – using “people who look distinctly West African” as models – Ms Wales Bonner’s lookbook stuns with it s retro references and nods to her black heritage – the young designer being of an English and Jamaican background, and interested in exploring blackness and the blaxploitation of the era her designs resonate in.

See the lookbook for “Afrique” here below and let us know what you think to Grace Wales Bonner’s Spring/Summer’15 menswear collection, in the comments below or on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram @SPICETVAFRICA.

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