Grace Wales Bonner told the story of a black sailor returning to land and trying to make sense of his identity along the way, with a collection that was more fluid and relaxed compared to her previous outings, yet also maintained the sense of romance and poetry she is known for.
With the connection of man and water in mind, Wales Bonner loosened up her silhouettes and included more sporty, nautical elements, as in rolled-up vinyl trousers, loose parkas with exaggerated pockets and nylon sweaters. Splashes of baby blue gingham seen on collars, the hems of trousers and the lining of hats — courtesy of Stephen Jones — recalled sailors’ uniforms.
While the range had a more utilitarian focus, Wales Bonner maintained “a vulnerability in the masculinity” she presented, to reflect her character’s quest for identity. She achieved this through cropped, skin-baring peacoats, floating shirts and tailored jackets featuring front slits that looked equally good on male and female models.
“It was about understanding Creole identity as an outsider, while also having a connection with it. By having a distance from the place, you think about it in quite a romantic way,” she said after the show.
While the designer felt that there was still “a sense of something unresolved,” this was a confident outing that further established her own identity as a maker of calm, soulful men’s wear.