Wales Bonner Releases Vibrant Spring/Summer 2022 Collection
The menswear label looked to West African portraiture and Sanelé Sory for inspiration this season.
Balmy evenings, free-spirits, and jazz-filled nightclubs: the ideal Summer setting. For designer Grace Wales Bonner, this idyllic landscape—coupled with the energy of West African portraiture—was the guiding force behind her eponymous label’s Spring/Summer 2022 collection.
Titled ‘Volta Jazz,’ Wales Bonner looked to a handful of references, most notably the work of Burkinabe artist Sanelé Sory. Having established a studio ‘Volta Photo,’ Sory captured the vibrant style and music scene of the newly liberated Upper Volta, now modern day Burkina Faso, throughout the 1960s and ’70s.
Not only documenting the sartorial choices of young subjects, Sory shined a light on the bustling nightlife and music scene during the time, mainly the sounds of Volta Jazz—an orchestral group that helped to define the Bobo Yéyé genre. Defined by entrancing guitar riffs and uptempo melodies, the genre frequently wove itself throughout Sory’s work and filled the eclectic atmosphere in Upper Volta.
Fashion-wise, Wales Bonner’s latest collection incorporates elements of Sory’s endeavors with the label’s signature, no-fuss separates. Japanese-inspired motifs, woven cotton produced in Burkina Faso, and hand embroidery take center stage throughout while lightweight shirting and 1970s-influenced shapes harken to Bonner’s aforementioned references.
Layered knits are complimented by Bonner’s top-notch tailoring, this time imagined in relaxed linen blends. Too, the label continued its collaboration with adidas Originals in the form of athletic-infused knits and new interpretations of the Country OG footwear silhouette.
Not only referencing Sory in the collection’s muted, color blocked outerwear and nostalgic silhouettes, silk yoga pants and a T-shirt feature custom artwork by Sory himself. The label also collaborated with Florent Mazzoleni on a Spotify playlist full of 1960s and ’70s Burkinabe music, which you can enjoy here.