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FKA twigs Grace Wales Bonner
FKA twigsPhotography JJ Medina

FKA twigs and Grace Wales Bonner discuss their collaboration

The pair share the story behind the singer’s jewel-encrusted stage outfits

In what can only be described as an exceptional meeting of creative minds, avant-pop artist FKA twigs and Dazed 100 designer Grace Wales Bonner have collaborated. After meeting earlier this year, the pair decided to work together on some stage outfits, which the singer wore as she performed her new single “Good to Love” on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon last week.

“Twigs came to the (AW16) show and asked to collaborate on something together,” says Wales Bonner. “We have met in the past and I am energised by her ambition and work ethic. We both had a history of working with Swarovski and saw this as a chance to do something exciting.”

After meeting, the pair began a correspondence over email, exchanging different ideas. “I sent Grace some pictures to show her the sort of feeling of the song and the performance,” says twigs. “I sent through a lot of African baptisms, I sent through some dances that felt quite shamanic and free, and I had references to quite a few religious pictures as well.”

“The clothing was inspired different notions of black spirituality,” says Wales Bonner. “There is a purity and simplicity to the clothing, which is all made in ivory raw silks and embellished with Swarovski crystals and cowry shells. It was nice working with fabrics and techniques that I feel are like handwriting to me.”

Since her graduate collection, the designer has been incorporating crystals (a sign of European wealth) and cowry shells (an old African form of currency) into her designs to symbolise the meeting of two cultures. Twigs’ stage outfits see these crystals and shells embroidered on a nude top and a pair of white trousers, as well as a hand-beaded skullcap worn by the singer’s guitarist.

“I think luckily because (Grace’s) work can have quite a religious feel when you see it in print, the context can feel quite religious and quite special and holy, and that was exactly the type of mood that I wanted to create for The Tonight Show,” says twigs. “I wanted to capture the details that I could mirror with my music as she did with the embroidery, with the Swarovski, with the time she takes to cut her patterns and shapes.”

“(Grace’s) work can have quite a religious feel... I wanted to capture the details that I could mirror with my music as she did with the embroidery” – FKA twigs

“It was a collaborative process working with twigs,” says Wales Bonner of the experience. “It was exciting to think about making clothes that move well for performance. I was very inspired by stagewear for my last collection (the clothes of Little Richard and Sly Stone) so this seems like a good resolution of these ideas.”

This isn’t the first time twigs has demonstrated her love for London’s emerging designers. In the artist’s music video for “In Time”, for example, she wears a pair of wide-leg layered trousers by Craig Green and a denim two-piece by Faustine Steinmetz

Watch FKA twigs performing “Good to Love” on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon below and vote for Grace Wales Bonner in the Dazed 100 here