When black power salutes came to the V&A

Last week, groundbreaking menswear designer Grace Wales Bonner took over the museum with a spellbinding presentation: watch it in an exclusive film

On Friday, Grace Wales Bonner did something unheard of for an upcoming designer: she put on a solo presentation at London’s prestigious Victoria & Albert museum. Models – some of whom had body parts drenched in coloured glitter – moved with grace and poeticism to the music provided by a live choir, at one moment slowly reaching their fists to the museum’s vaulted ceilings in the iconic black power salute. A part of Fashion in Motion – an initiative that first began with Alexander McQueen in 1999 – the presentation puts the English-Jamaican CSM grad in good company, with previous participants taking to the platform including Vivienne WestwoodJean Paul Gaultier and Gareth Pugh.

Created by senior V&A curator (and Savage Beauty mastermind) Claire Wilcox, the scheme is determined to break down the walls between the fashion industry and public with free shows and presentations. One of Britain’s most visionary new talents, Wales Bonner is the perfect candidate: the designer is kickstarting discussions about the representation of black masculinity in fashion, inspired by artists who, in her words, “disturb institutionalised notions of blackness”. Her work is an important and vital new addition to Britain’s fashion landscape.

Watch the presentation in the exclusive VHS style film by Ben Smallwood above, and stay tuned for our longread feature on Wales Bonner from the spring/summer 2015 issue of Dazed.