Grace Wales Bonner's work focuses on black male sexuality, masculine identity, and cultural experience. It makes for rich and unexplored terrain -because of the few black designers who have risen to international prominence, all of whom predominantly design for women. Ms Wales Bonner is designing from her own experience and memories, growing up in South East London with an English mother and a Jamaican father. Her paternal grandfather was a tailor. Her collections feel profoundly, poignantly personal -which is possibly why they resonate for so many. She is 25, but has already received a British Fashion Award recognizing her emerging talent, despite the fact that this show was, technically, her first solo outing after a period at talent incubators Fashion East and MAN. That is indicative of London's current menswear state of mind : start them young, raise them high, and do it quick. She graduated two years ago. Grace Wales Bonner's ideas warrant the attention, as her small, well-formed show proved. She dedicated it specifically to the 1930 crowning of Haile Selassie as emperor of Ethiopia, but in truth it was pan-African, merging ceremonial styles -military decoration, religious attire- with embellishments of crystals and shells and touches of handicraft, embroideries, and crochet. East Africa, West Africa, the Caribbean, and a European view of them all, then and now. A multitude of perceptions, blending into a new reality. The palette was austere and monochrome, polished Sunday best. The focus was tailoring, of the most formal kind -frock coats, tailcoats, brief capes, single-breasted jackets, buttoning high, with shallow vents over narrow trousers. Technically, they're demanding styles -of any designer, especially one so young. They were adroitly realized. Let's savor that, for a moment. London's new breed of designers has moved away from tailoring like this as a means to communicate new and engaging ideas. In fact, fashion as a whole has ditched the suit as a medium of creative expression. To see a designer so young grappling with both this medium and this message is really astounding. Not only that, but Grace Wales Bonner has made these clothes feel both relevant, and desirable, to a new generation of men. And women as well. Some retailers have already purchased the elaborate, richly figured velvet garments from her previous collection as womenswear, where they will be more readily digested by consumers. In reaction, the savvy GWB offered a few female-specific styles in this runway show. Yet gender is not just important but fundamental to her perception of clothing -she doesn't seem the sort to jump on bandwagons, let alone anything so trite as "gender fluidity". It's the flamboyance of the decorated male she's really interested in. But rather than the flash offered by other names, Wales Bonner's richness doesn't end but rather begins with the surface. It's what lies beneath that's really fascinating. And what's yet to come. There was much promise in this début.