Shop the post: Grace Wales Bonner on a multiplicity vision

Wales Bonner The Innovators Programme at MATCHESFASHION

Fashion month has kicked off and it feels like it’s properly back. Quite rightly there’s a concurrent spotlight on newer talent and younger businesses, who will need extra help in reorienting themselves after the ravages of the pandemic. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many mentoring projects!

The 8th LVMH Prize for Young Fashion Designers just took place, with the main prize won by Nensi Dojaka and three designers sharing the Karl Lagerfeld Prize of €150K each (congrats to my fave, Lukhanyo Mdingi). While prize money is great, it’s not everything. (Remember Thomas Tait’s experience?) So alongside the cash, the LVMH Prize offers access to LVMH’s top tier of luxury business experts, helping designers to bolster their businesses and develop their brands.

Matchesfashion* is also committed to nurturing on-the-rise talent. In its second year, its annual Innovators Programme focuses on championing emerging global designers, with practical support including marketing and preferential business terms. While Matchesfashion can certainly help on the retail front, it’s also doubling down on the editorial. This week it kicks off a series of interviews pairing up newer designers with more experienced ‘mentors’. I love a Q&A format between equally interesting people and this conversation* between Grace Wales Bonner and Jil Sander’s Lucie and Luke Meier is a great fit.

Wales Bonner The Innovators Programme at MATCHESFASHION

There are similarities and differences in their design approaches. Wales Bonner has always interested me for the way she uses fashion as a communication tool to express a vision beyond clothes – through publications, exhibitions, ‘sound experience’, and her amazing films. This season’s collection expresses the identities of 1980s Black British Oxbridge scholars, in tailored denim*, slim retro track pants* and patterned knits*. “I’m really interested in fashion as a means of communication,” she says. “I like to create different strands that can express different ideas – but they’re all part of one expression. Fashion feels like the most direct medium I have.”

Wales Bonner The Innovators Programme at MATCHESFASHION

Lucie and Luke Meier are a design couple I very much admire for what they’re doing with Jil Sander. It’s a good marriage of the founder’s tailored rigour with their own warmer and more personal street-rooted vibe. This season’s Bauhaus-inspired knits* gel well with their utility-luxe trousers* and outerwear*. But while Wales Bonner and the Meiers share an intellectual and narrative approach to their labels, they diverge on what that narrative should be. Luke Meier praises the consistency of OG Jil Sander, while Wales Bonner can’t commit. “The most important ideas I am interested in are duality and multiplicity. I don’t want to present a singular narrative.”

Wales Bonner The Innovators Programme at MATCHESFASHION

Read the full conversation here* and look out for the rest of the Innovators conversations* including Nensi Dojaka with Christopher Kane, and Charles Jeffrey with Sir Paul Smith.


WORDS: Disneyrollergirl / Navaz Batliwalla
IMAGES: Wales Bonner menswear / Matchesfashion
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THE DRG STYLE INDEX: Burberry, Vivienne Westwood, Gucci, Grenson, Matches

Here’s the latest weekly DRG STYLE INDEX ranking, a round-up of the brands and industry stories currently buzzing on my radar…

All attention has been on couture this week, with a wonderful Valentino show (Valentino is winning couture for me at the mo, not least for Pierpaolo’s studio antics), a pleasingly understated Dior show, and a shimmering Chanel show (watch my verdict on SHOWstudio). Elsewhere, these were my big stories…

Burberry X Vivienne Westwood collaboration
Now here’s a collab I can get behind. Burberry and Vivienne Westwood are joining forces to rework pieces from the Westwood archive in support of rainforest charity Cool Earth. (more…)’s new spring drops

Matches new own label RAEY

Gotta love at this time of year. You get the big-ass Matches glossy magazine through the post, plus all the shiny new SS15 deliveries. Among them are a couple of noteworthy new womenswear lines.

I’m excited about Kolor womenswear (the designer of Kolor happens to be Mr Sacai) and’s just-launched own label, RAEY. RAEY is right on target with the clean-lined, boyish silhouettes that have dominated the 2010s, livened up with pops of pink and primrose yellow.

Plus,’s denim focus is spot on for me; ‘forever denim’ in easy boyfriend shapesthrow-on shirting and gently lived-in kimono jackets (thank you MIH Jeans). Shop away below…

WORDS: Navaz Batliwalla/Disneyrollergirl

Caroline de Maigret does Marques’Almeida for Matches Fashion


Er, hello with your rather excellent (and free) The Style Report magazine! The retailer has stepped up its editorial considerably lately, not least with its current cover and feature on Caroline De Maigret.

Everyone’s current favourite French fancy, the interview is soooo good, she is charmingly blunt in the way that only Parisienne women seem to be able to get away with. And of course, she looks imperfectly-perfect in Boo George’s pictures (styled by Verity Parker). Here she is in Marques’Almeida (above), Preen and Isabel Marant… (more…)