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grace wales bonner showing at the V&A

We speak to the London designer ahead of her V&A Fashion in Motion show today.

by Lynette Nylander
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10 April 2015, 1:30pm

Lucky for London, the city is swimming in phenomenal design talent which can make it hard for a young upstart to separate themselves from the pack and bring buzz to their burgeoning brands. But when Grace Wales Bonner presented her autumn/winter 15 Ebonics collection at Fashion East this January past, rooted in the exploration of Black culture and identity, the unanimous chatter from the crowd was that a star was born. The collection, a follow on from her St Martins' graduate collection entitled Afrique, was visually arresting and accomplished with the flair of a designer many years older than Grace's 23 years.

In a true sign of her originality as a designer, she has teamed up with the V&A for the Fashion in Motion series, who's alumni include John Paul GaultierAlexander McQueen and Gareth Pugh, to recreate her Ebonics fashion presentation and with it bring it to the wider audience of the museum.

Before her four presentations that take place today at V&A, we caught up with Bonner to talk her about her collections, collaborations and defining luxury in 2015.

If you could collaborate with anyone, who it would it be and why?
I'd love to work with Samuel Fosso, as I think he is a really interesting photographer and his work is deeply routed in history but also really artistically challenging. I also want to work with film, so Steve McQueen would also be amazing to collaborate with, or Isaac Julien.

Your Ebonics collection was a real standout at LC:M, did you think it would be such a hit and why do you think it resonated with so many people?
I didn't really have time to think about how/if people would react to it and was really amazed by the support and response I got from Ebonics. I invested so much emotionally energy into the collection and had become so immersed in the research and the concept that I guess people could connect to that. It was really incredible to connect with people like that.

What do you hope people take away when looking at your work?
I hope my work poses some kind of question. It is meant to be an open question and not a resolved idea. I hope it is about opening up a discussion and opening up the possibilities of how one can be.

How are you looking to move forward from your Ebonics and Afrique?
I want to go deeper.

Luxury has evolved and changed even from what it was in the 90s. How would you define luxury in 2015?
I feel in 2015, luxury is having the confidence and belief to be yourself.

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