Wales Bonner RTW Spring 2021

Grace Wales Bonner continued exploring Caribbean identity, zooming in on the flamboyance of Jamaica’s dance hall culture from the Eighties.

A report by Natalie Theodosi for Women’s Wear Daily.

Grace Wales Bonner wanted to continue the narrative she started with her fall 2020 “Lovers’ Rock” collection, zooming further into the codes of Caribbean identity.

Her latest collection, dubbed “Essence,” looked specifically at Jamaican dance hall culture from the Eighties and mixed in the flamboyance Jamaican style is usually associated with, with some of the more traditional codes of British tailoring.

The result was a collection filled with contrast and the kind of intricate details for which Wales Bonner has come to be known.

The designer played with striped wool suits, tailored separates done in bright checks and repurposed Savile Row suits, which were broken apart and fused back together with sleeves, made using contrasting activewear materials.

Wales Bonner also added plenty of bright, slim-cut activewear that had plenty of retro tinges, as part of a tie-in with Adidas.

Her aim was to build on the wardrobe she has been proposing ever since starting her brand and highlight “what’s essential,” hence the impeccably cut dress shirts, slim trousers and preppy knit sets.

She took a similar approach on the women’s wear front, which continues to grow and this season included long tunics, knitted separates in the same bright, striped patterns as some of the men’s looks and some standout maxi crochet-knit skirts.

Given the coronavirus-related restrictions, Wales Bonner worked from a distance with the director Jeano Edwards, who showcases the collection against Jamaica’s streets and natural landscapes.

She also produced a digital magazine, which will offer her audience an opportunity to interact with her label in more intimate ways, discovering both the clothes and the deep research and exploration of Black culture that goes into their creation — sparking conversations that are both timely and essential.

“My position and my feelings [around the racial justice conversation] have always been consistent, but the world is now catching up,” the designer said.

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