As quickly as they came around, the SS19 menswear shows are now over. One name you might have noticed was missing from its usual slot on the London schedule was Wales Bonner, as founder Grace Wales Bonner chose to present its latest collection via an off-schedule lookbook instead.
After pooling Senegalese street style and Ethiopian royalty for inspiration, the menswear designer is now tackling Indian’s spiritual traditions. For SS19 she was inspired by a spiritual album recorded in California in the 80s and 90s, and draws from the work of American artist Terry Adkins.
Entitled Ecstatic Recital, the collection explores “devotional aesthetics via sound,” the designer explains. “Alice Coltrane’s ecstatic music and the ambient sound of Laraaji started me on a journey thinking about the ways one can interpret Easter mysticism.”
The collection includes both menswear and womenswear and imagines a journey to India through garments adorned with handwoven brocades and hand-stitched daisies. Dazed 100 artist Eric N. Mack returned this time to collaborate with the designer on a reworked Terry Adkins piece, which manifested itself in a madras check that was hand painted onto a silk pinstripe shirt.
Elsewhere, garments were printed with slogans like “You must center” and “Find that place” – a nod to spiritual teacher Ram Dass’s 1971 text on spirituality, yoga, and meditation Be Here Now. Not only a source of inspiration, proceeds from the collection’s sales are set to be given to the Love Serve Remember Foundation – “They do great work in spreading the positive teachings of Ram Dass, it’s important to honour their work,” Wales Bonner explains.