Dear Shaded Viewers and Diane,
It wasn’t but a year ago that Grace Wales Bonner presented ’Ebonics' as her Fashion East debut: an invitation to the V&A's prestigious Fashion in Motion programme followed suit, then Hans Ulrich Obrist’s Serpentine Marathon, then the Emerging Menswear Designer prize at the British Fashion Awards in November. A raising pile of trophies to prove, that whereas there's no shame in giving the people what the people want – this season: army green workwear with loads of pockets, freshened in creaseless, spongy neoprene. Keep bringing it on! – a truly remarkable feat is still to give them rather what they didn't know they missed. Singled out, Grace's garments aren't necessarily against the flow – think faded, high-waisted denims and 70s flares – but on a whole, her explorations of black male sexuality are as unfamiliar as they were due. Grace treats her work with a delicacy with didn't know to expect. Always lyrical, AW16 comes explicitly inspired by the cleansing wise rhythms of black spirituality, from the choral melodies of African slaves who sang as a means of escape and prayer, to the psychedelic soul of Sly and the Family Stone, to the glittering astral projections of Afrofuturism and Sun Ra. Like fellow MAN alumnus Craig Green, Grace aligns herself with their quietly profound school of transcendental menswear. In terms of silhouette, it translates in gentled, tenderised suiting with a milky way glow, sleeveless knits worn with matching floor-swiping scarves, billowy silks and velveteen, bejewelled joggers. The models shimmer with a glossy coral blush, Swarovski chokers, horn bracelets, earrings and rings: Grace Wales Bonner makes a case menswear to claim back its jewellery, but forget the knuckledusters or what rolled by a mere few seasons ago – from now on instead, welcome the crystals.