TWILIGHT REVERIE is a good way to describe Wales Bonner’s AW23 collection as it arrives at the heart of Parisian luxury, paying homage to the black icons that drift through the halls of Place Vendôme.
Inspired by diverse artistic traditions, the beauty of life and unburdened expressions come together to blend into loose and preppy silhouettes that explore the house’s signature shirts and silk scarves – all made in collaboration with artist Lubaina Himid. The collection pays an ode to black flaneur as moments of calmness are freed as the collection evolves.
Boucle tweed coats and studded corduroy trousers invite the wearer to wander and appreciate long breathes and desires before they are raptured with contrasting evening wear. Looking up to the wonders of the Seine, cabaret shows and the eclectic dance of the city itself has made for a shimmeringly saturated showcase.
Silk tuxedos are made in collaboration with Savile Row tailors Anderson & Sheppard and are met perfectly by fine Ecco Leather trench coats to protect from the winter’s freezing nights. Each outfit is rounded by a pair of intriguing ponyskin evening slippers or collaged snakeskin boots, all Made in Italy, to accompany the first Wales Bonner iteration of mainline sneakers – luxury really is dripping from every part of this collection.
Taking from the ongoing partnership with Adidas Originals, we see sporting silhouettes matched with the House’s more traditional design codes like gentleman’s pinstripes and Jamaican sunlight yellow; all of which are a nod towards the upcoming collaboration with the country’s national football team.
We’re excited to see the development of menswear skirt ranges this season, and Wales Bonner has not fallen short of the mark on this one. In fact, Swarovski crystal-embellished knitwear and draped silk shirting can be spotted throughout, hinting at notes of a gender-fluid range, whilst also recalling tales of Maharaja and Maharani of Indore and Modernist tastemakers with this couture.
The accessories are also one to look out for as baroque pearls and hand-made Ghanaian beads hang effortlessly from the ears and dazzle from hybrid brooches.
Parisian “Presence Africane” is commemorated by collegiate-inspired jackets featuring Sorbonne 56. They mark the First Congress of Black Artists and Writers attended by inspirational figures like Aimé Césaire, Alioune Diop, Frantz Fanon, and James Baldwin. Understanding the term seamless would be an understatement as Wales Bonner may be a newcomer on the schedule but her understanding of key motifs for her eponymous brand already prove season upon season she has an unwavering place in modern fashion history.
by Alicia Tomkinson