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Black Sunlight: Caribbean Warmth Meets Oxford Crisp In Wales Bonner FW21

PhenomenalMAG Staff  |  Collections, Drops & Runways

In an unprecedented, closed-in season caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, an unconventional designer Grace Wales Bonner is emerging as a transcendent superstar.

Never one to be bound by seasons, gender, identity or traditions, Wales Bonner already dipped and flowed freely between menswear and womenswear, runway and lookbooks, even before the fashion world crashed to a screeching halt.

Wales Bonner F/W 2021, “Black Sunlight,” closes a trilogy for the designer yet opens a world of possibilities. A second-generation Jamaican raised in London, Wales Bonner has been intuitively exploring and fusing her rich, distinct backgrounds in exciting and unexpected ways.

“During this time I feel like I’ve really been grounding myself in this framework, and refining myself within it. These collections are about consolidating and reinforcing what is timeless to me; representing the breadth of what Wales Bonner is, and can be,” she told Vogue.

Where Part 1 of the series looked to London’s 1970s Lovers Rock scene and Part 2 embraced Jamaican reggae and dancehall, Part 3 draws upon the beautifully crisp, stunning looks sported by 1980s-era Black British scholars who traveled from around the world to study at Oxford and Cambridge.

“I was thinking about how in certain spaces people create a language for themselves,” reflected Wales Bonner. “About how you might disrupt an institution from inside.”

To create the full university flow, Wales Bonner worked with both Savile Row tailors and in tandem with her brand’s Adidas collaboration. The result produced a sumptuous, layered line with Afro-Atlantic infused tuxedo suiting, softened Oxford shirts, brushed denim suits, woodblock prints, Indian embroidery and even artist Joy Gregory’s Jamaican “flowers of resistance” gracing supple cotton cashmere, along with tracksuits and trainers, ‘60s jerseys and wools, and cheeky T-shirts that draw a smile as one struts in style.

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