Grace Wales Bonner referenced the works of Caribbean poets Kamau Brathwaite and the Nobel Prize winner Derek Walcott in this collection that looked at the experience of Black Caribbean expats and intellectuals living and studying in England in the 1980s.
She managed to make mismatched and off-kilter combinations look vibrant and stylish with her mix of color and pattern, streetwear and Savile Row tailoring, and techniques such as hand crochet for a delicate dress and swishy skirt. (Wales Bonner always shows women’s alongside men’s.)
The aesthetic was of college kids cruising vintage or charity shops, trying to look urbane in their imposing ivory tower surroundings.
Her sophisticated bohemians wore Anderson & Sheppard tuxedos in mismatched stripes, shearling shawl jackets, jaunty, knitted tracksuit tops paired with prim leather skirts, and tunic tops adorned with paisleys or Indian embroidery.
They ran around in cool Adidas Originals sneakers, part of the designer’s ongoing collaboration with the sports brand.
The charm and poetry of this collection came through in Wales Bonner’s look book, which was shot on location at Goodenough College, a post-graduate institution in London, and in a short film directed by Jeano Edwards, both of which debuted on Saturday.
The film glowed with Jamaican sunlight and the colorful sweep of palm and banana leaves, showing the natural, wild beauty that inspired those Caribbean poets and dreamers whose work so enriched chilly old England.