Twilight Reverie

Autumn Winter 2023

Wales Bonner arrives at the epicentre of European luxury, Place Vendome. In enters a band of free spirits, a montage of singular characters: artists, writers, watchers, seekers, all adorned now in the feeling of Paris. We see Baldwin, Baker, and the rest of the rebel sojourners arriving like a stream of stars, coming together in their uniqueness as if a constellation.

The Autumn Winter collection acts as a study of diverse artistic traditions in the city of light, of circles formed amidst the arrondissements, of beautiful lives and expressions unburdened. The silhouettes are loose and preppy. Signature shirting and silk scarves made in collaboration with renowned artist Lubaina Himid issue an ode to the figure of the black flaneur, painterly subjects captured in twilight reverie. Bouclé tweed coats and studded corduroy trousers present a wardrobe for the free walk, the wind-guided wander—for thoughts and desires in long breaths, moments of calm before artistic rapture.

As saunters along the Seine evolve into a cabaret swing, tailored evening wear is accentuated by cowrie shells and dancing raffia plumes. Silk tuxedos made in collaboration with Savile Row tailors Anderson & Sheppard quietly shimmer alongside a pale blue crocodile trench coat in fine Ecco® Leather. Ponyskin evening slippers and collaged snakeskin boots Made in Italy accompany the first iteration of mainline sneakers.

Meanwhile the ongoing partnership with adidas Originals’ sees iconic sporting silhouettes refined by the Wales Bonner codes, as gentleman’s pinstripes and Jamaica’s sunlight yellow offer a preview of the upcoming collaboration with the country’s national football team.

Elsewhere, menswear skirts, draped silk shirting, and Swarovski crystal embellished knitwear recall the Maharaja and Maharani of Indore, fellow travellers and Modernist tastemakers with the couture of worldly being. Unique flourishes complete the ceremonial wardrobe, as hybrid brooches and earrings are assembled from baroque pearls and hand made Ghanaian beads. Parisian “Presence Africaine'' is commemorated by collegiate- inspired jackets emblazoned with Sorbonne 56, marking the First Congress of Black Artists and Writers attended by notable figures like Aimé Césaire, Alioune Diop, Frantz Fanon, and James Baldwin.

Reverberations continue with the contemporary musicians who carry the essence of free living.
The soundtrack includes original commissions from generational talents Duval Timothy, Sampha and Kendrick Lamar. It is the sound of singular beings, magnificent strangers, ever-soaring in art and life. A hymn to the passers by.

Bibliography

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Baldwin, James. “Princes and Powers”. Essay in The Price of the Ticket: Collected Nonfiction: 1948-1985. New York: St. Martin’s / Marek, 1985. Baudelaire, Charles. The Painter of Modern Life, and Other Essays, by Charles Baudelaire. Translated and edited by Jonathan Mayne. London: Phaidon, 1964.
Curtis, Louise, and Raphaèle Billé, eds. Moderne Maharajah: Un Mécène Des Années 1930. Paris: Musée des Arts Décoratifs, 2019.
Davis, Miles, and Quincy Troupe. Miles: The Autobiography. New York : Simon & Schuster, 1989.
Fabre, Michel. From Harlem to Paris: Black American Writers in France, 1840-1980. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1993.
Himid, Lubaina et al. Lubaina Himid. Edited by Michael Wellen. London: Tate Modern, 2021.
Holman Conwill, Kinshasa, Catherine Bernard, Peter Selz, Michel Fabre, and Valerie J Mercer. Explorations in the City of Light: African-American Artists in Paris, 1945-1965. New York, NY: Studio Museum in Harlem, 1996.
Hughes, Langston. Ask Your Mama: 12 Moods for Jazz. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2009.
Jules-Rosette, Bennetta. Josephine Baker in Art and Life: The Icon and the Image. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2007.
McKay, Claude. A Long Way from Home. New York: Lee Furman, 1937.
Soumanou Vieyra, Paulin, dir. Afrique Sur Seine. 1955; Paris, Groupe Africain du Cinéma. [film] “Special Issue: The 1st International Conference of Negro Writers and Artists (Paris – Sorbonne – 19th-22nd September 1956)” Presence Africaine 8-10, 1956.

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