The SS22 collection from Wales Bonner dubbed “Volta Jazz” channels music described in West Africa as “Bobo Yéyé”: Bobo referencing the city of origin – Bobo-Dioulasso – and Yéyé being a colloquial term of endearment used by local residents to describe rock and roll music of the time, particularly so The Beatles and their persistent “yeah yeah yeah”.
At the time, Bobo was an army town, a market center and laden with soldiers, tourists and locals alike; the city was a mixing pot of many cultures, and Volta Jazz was one of the most prominent musical groups throughout the 60’s and 70’s, acting as a focal point for this collision of worlds. The era was a huge turning point for the Upper Volta as a whole, with independence from France on the horizon and new technology (think radio) exposing the population to an infinite number of new sounds, influences and international cultures. We also see an ode to Sanlé Sory, a Burkinabe artist known for portraiture as well as being Volta Jazz’s official photographer through their heyday. His work documents Bobo-Dioulasso’s bustling nightlife, community and music scene through the 60’s and 70’s, particularly orchestral jazz music of the region.
Once again, Wales Bonner’s choices of inspiration are incredible, thought-out and a breath of fresh air that is wholly necessary for today’s fashion industry (and wider culture, for that matter – these massively influential eras in history are often forgotten about and left unspoken of in the modern world). Through a vintage-tinged film by Joshua Woods, alongside a musical score “Djougou Toro” by Volta Jazz, we see a preview of the Wales Bonner SS22 collection together with – assumedly collaborative – adidas pieces. The collection is made up of a diverse crop of garments, be it playful, flirtatious co-ords or sophisticated – yet dancefloor ready – tailoring options, the looks are regal, refined and mature all while maintaining an otherworldly atmosphere of fun; one only has to glance at the collection to be tempted to dance, crack a smile and go live a little. A joyful, full-of-life collection from the eponymous label headed by Grace Wales Bonner arrives as an undoubtable highlight to 2021’s fashion calendar.
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