Since its debut, Wales Bonner has carried the thread of multidisciplinary practice. Weaving together art, history, and architecture into the fabric of its legacy, the label comes back to bite with its Spring Summer 2023 campaign – taking shape in imagery and an accompanying film.
What ignites Wales Bonner is the unifying of European luxury and the spirit of the Afro-Atlantic diaspora, and the SS23 runway completely embodied that. Amidst the European splendour of Palazzo Medici Riccardi, the label’s commissioning of an installation by Ghanaian artist Ibrahim Mahara was on display for all to see. Comprising of jute sacks hand-stitched together by local Ghanaian artisans, this intricate installation set the backdrop for the show.
The collection is stepped in the art of craftsmanship, which is further brought to light through beaded macrame dresses and artisanal jewellery. These accessories are offered up in a melding of baroque pearl, rock crystal, as well as recycled glass beads plucked straight from Ghana. The thread of handmade craftsmanship continues through to the hand-dyed jerseys and woven cottons, which were crafted up in Burkina Faso. Not to mention, silk jacquard designs and opera coats were developed especially by the House of Charvet in Paris, so the collection brings together hand making traditions from all across the globe.
The historical context of the Palazzo Medici, which welcomed a black presence since its debut in the late 15th century, further attests to the symbolic levels of Wales Bonner’s latest collection. The memory of a black Medici is felt in elements that deconstruct a ceremonial wardrobe. While formal shirts lay undone in semi sheer silks, the collars billow in the Florentine wind, and the pieces cut a classic silhouette with a hit of sportiness. Horizon blue takes the shape of a suede jacket, embellished with silver studs. These pieces make way for cashmere tuxedos and a camel hair coat made in partnership with Savile Row tailor Anderson and Sheppard, which are just a small piece of spellbinding puzzle that is the collection.
The campaign film provides depth and insight into this endeavour, as Ibrahim Mahara’s voice overlays a visual recap of the show. Lensed by director Jeano Edwards, the visuals are the cherry on top of this artistic feat.
To watch the campaign film head below, and for more on the collection head here…