Wednesday, February 1, 2023
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Wales Bonner Fall 2023 Menswear

“Somehow I feel far away from home, in a place like Paris with all the romance and grandeur.” About Graces Wales Bonner Into the City of Lights, You can say it again. Her show took place in a historic salon suite at the Hotel D’Evreux—all chandeliers, wainscoting and period wallpaper. This sacred site is located on the corner of the Place Vendome, the epicenter of French high luxury. It’s a more intentional choice of background for the aspirations of this most studied young designer, who often repeats “bringing the spirit of the African Atlantic to European ideas of luxury” as her mantra.

Elevating “Black Male Style; Maharaja and Maharani’s stay in Paris, and fan out to see showgirl, fashion maker and activist Josephine Baker. By immersing themselves in their world, she said she found she was moved, not so much by the literalness of the clothes, but by the uplifting effect of the cultural vibe. “Think of Paris as a place that gives them the right to do things and express themselves. This idea of ​​freedom of self-expression, to define yourself.” She speculates that Paris “may create spaces where people can be more expressive.”

Award-winning jazz trumpeter Herman Mehari stood in the center of the apartment and played an exquisite ensemble of “Black flanuers” across the room. It started with a very precisely tailored coat in black, half of which had a white turn-up collar. Pinned to its chest was a brooch—one of several composites of baroque pearls and Ghanaian beadwork that added ritual to the show. The entrance is clearly an echo of a famous 1929 High Decoration period portrait of the Maharaja in a black tie tuxedo with a sparkling white threaded cloak. The fact that Wales Bonner’s translation was tailor-made for her at Savile Row by Anderson & Sheppard, as was the couture silk tuxedo suit, makes them go even further.

Her knack is drawing her own deft intellectual boundaries between past and present. As her pieces are imbued with cultural symbolism, she always takes care to put them together in a way that is wearable and relevant. You can tell her knack when you examine an outfit—say, a well-tailored jacket worn with cotton utility trousers and babush slippers. Babouches walk the parquet floor in many ways; Mary Jane straps in gleaming silver and sparkling lady toes.

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