Get to Know Grace Wales Bonner, Dior Cruise Collaborator

Get to Know Grace Wales Bonner, Dior Cruise Collaborator

The LVMH Prize-winning, British-Jamaican designer was among Dior’s collaborative lineup of creatives.

The LVMH Prize-winning, British-Jamaican designer was among Dior’s collaborative lineup of creatives.

Text: Emma Li

Maria Grazia Chiuri, creative director of Dior, showcased the fashion house's cruise collection yesterday in the North African city of Marrakesh. Chiuri’s desire to explore pan-African craftsmanship led her to collaborate with anthropologist Anne Grosfilley, Ivory Coast fabric manufacturer Uniwax, and British-Jamaican designer Grace Wales Bonner.

Grace Wales Bonner, founder of London-based menswear label Wales Bonner, is the recipient of the 2016 LVMH Prize. Born in Southeast London into a multi-ethnic family, Bonner’s European and African heritage serves as an important element in her collections, which explore representations of black male sexuality and identity.

While she was still enrolled at Central Saint Martins, Bonner assisted Vogue fashion editor Camilla Nickerson in New York. Bonner’s collection “Afrique” featured a cast of black male models and won the L'Oréal Professional Talent Award. A year later, she was awarded the Emerging Menswear Designer at the British Fashion Awards.

Bonner’s work has been presented at the Victoria and Albert Museum as well as the Serpentine Gallery. Her multimedia exhibition “A Time for New Dreams” at the Serpentine Gallery impressed Chiuri, who asked to meet Bonner in Paris to discuss collaboration.

The collaboration recently took form through Bonner’s reiteration of the Bar jacket and New Look skirt for Dior’s Cruise 2020 Collection. The jacket’s embellishments draw from native Caribbean cultures that hold a special place in Bonner’s heart while her matching skirt design is a graphic piece that intersects masculinity and femininity. Many women are attracted to Bonner's collections despite the designer's focus on menswear. Now, they’re presented with Bonner's reinterpretations of iconic Dior silhouettes.

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