My Inspiration: Grace Wales Bonner AW16

The up-and-coming designer and star of London’s MAN showcase on her fascination with British artist Mark Leckey


Fresh blood is always needed, it’s in the nature of fashion to constantly crave ‘newness’. Each season there’s one or two stand out names that inject such energy. Craig Green did it a few seasons back. This time around it was down to Grace Wales Bonner to do the honour. Her sensitive, 70s-like fashion felt poetic, ranging from double-breasted suits to firetruck red tracksuits. This was one of the LC:M highlights, and here GWB explains some of her inspiration:

“For me, Mark Leckey’s quote on Little Richard, sets up the idea of appropriating a perception of yourself and transforming it: ‘For me he is a shaman. He takes all the trash, all of the abuse and disrespect he received, and alchemically transforms it into something powerful. He creates a space, and a space gets created around him where he can act or enact this ritual, where he can intoxicate people by his kind of magic.’


“When working on the AW16 collection, ‘Spirituals’, I was thinking about different notions of black spirituality, how they serve as a form of escapism, how they can help create new identities. Also Afro-futurism, Sun Ra, Miles Davis, Religion and traditional Griot ceremonies influenced these ideas. Mark Leckey’s work was referenced in the hair and make-up concept this season, where the models were painted as if they had just come off stage of a performance, their faces were glittering with sweat which also suggested ethereal qualities.”