“Things are happening” in Florence, Grace Wales Bonner said during a preview before her show in Florence on Tuesday night as part of Pitti Uomo.
Indeed, she spring collection was a larger than life journey.
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It landed in Burkina Faso, where hand-dyed jerseys and cotton were made, and in Ghana, where she had her soft-edged jewelry crafted from glass beads, rock crystals and baroque pearls. gracing most of the looks, then in Paris, where the opera coats were made by the house of Charvet and in London, where Savile Row stalwart Anderson & Sheppard contributed some of the bespoke pieces.
His mix of utilitarian details and modern cuts – as in wide-leg cargo pants worn under elongated dress shirts with a contrasting bib, or tailored suits with round ribbed lapels and cropped studded jackets – had echoes of the style period, be it Renaissance Florence or Elvis Presley.
The designer constantly injected artful details, making it her main goal to display them as the pinnacle of luxury today.
“For me, the artisanal element is really an important part, it’s a brand mission,” she said.
It was a strong representation of his understanding of male figures and proportions. For all its refined aesthetics, the collection was never intimidating, rather sophisticated and catered to today’s youth. She paired the looks with leather sandals, cowboy boots and the latest iteration of her Adidas collab, hand-stitched patent sneakers with macramé detailing.
The handcrafted feel and message of unity is even more powerful when written “rise” on a varsity jacket, the ultimate fashion representation of youth, once again proving its prowess at mingling with pop culture.
Her feminine looks, quite numerous as she pushes through the category, were equally captivating, built around wrap skirts paired with tucked-in fleece shirts and polo shirts or macrame dresses.
She chose the imposing Palazzo Medici Riccardi for the Pitti exhibition, which once housed patron of the arts Alessandro de’ Medici, known as the Black Prince of Florence, but reconfigured it via a site-specific installation of the Ghanaian artist Ibrahim Mahama, who covered the ground in hand-sewn jute sacks once used to export cocoa from his native land, transformed here into a message of unity among the peoples of the world.
“I was thinking about the black presence in Florence historically, whether it’s de’Medici or some other interaction of West Africans in the city, dignified and sophisticated characters,” the designer said.
The show ran for two years and she first IRL showcase since 2019.
“I also linked the story of Wales Bonner… it was like going into the archives and reflecting on some of the brand’s early ideas and aspirations,” she said. said.
It was an act of maturity for the designer, imbued with poetry, dignity and great fashion. Luxury devotees should keep an eye out for her. Are they already?
Launch the gallery: Wales Bonner Men Spring 2023