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Who is Grace Wales Bonner, winner of the 2016 LVMH Prize?

 

Last Thursday on June 16th 2016, Grace Wales Bonner, who graduated from Central Saint Martins in 2014, won the LVMH Prize. Find out exactly who this young woman is with her innovative vision and promising talent.

At the tender age of 25, Grace Wales Bonner has just won the LVMH Prize 2016 with an atypical approach for a fashion designer. Nourished with art and critical theory, this English woman of Jamaican origin, who graduated from Central Saint Martins in 2014, radiates great intellectual maturity. Working simultaneously on art (videos, a magazine entitled Everything’s For Real…) and clothing collections that mutually nourish each other, this incredibly talented young person offers an innovative vision of men’s fashion and masculinity that seamlessly blends European and African influences. 

They say that hell is paved with good intentions… And designers are often misled in their evoking of Africa in terms of cheap exoticism drained of any cultural significance, achieving perfect Barthesian “myths”. Yet without anger, lesson-giving or playing the redemption card, Grace Wales Bonner distils a powerful antidote to these embarrassing errors of judgement. In the field of fashion imagery, the young woman composes majestic portraits of black men in 2016. “My interest in black culture and the representation of black people is central to my work,” she explains to us at the prize giving ceremony at the Louis Vuitton Foundation. “The reason I started doing fashion is probably because I didn’t feel that representations of black people had any relation to my own life. I wanted to show an image of beauty, dignity and sophistication that I haven’t found elsewhere. I felt the need to create these images of young, sexy, virile black men who feel good about themselves. I didn’t want to use black models to just project a discourse on to them that had no bearing with their own experience.”

 

To achieve this respectful representation, an attention to fashion, to its craftsmanship, to the beauty of materials and production is of course essential. The cheque for 300,000€ that LVMH has just made out to her label, Wales Bonner will allow this promising young woman to pursue her work with even more exactitude. 

 

www.walesbonner.net 

 

By Delphine Roche

 

Check out Glenn Martens’ interview.

Check out Tuomas Merikoski’s interview.

Check out Brandon Maxwell’s interview.

Check out Christelle Kocher’s interview.

 

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