Reminiscent of a page in a 60s Vogue, with waist-length straight hair, hand-embroidered kaftans and fur-lined men's silk dusters from Syria (these she wears lounging around the house), Bonnie has not been bought by the ethos of mass comfort. In fact, the closest thing to sweatpants for her are black silk ones that she designed. They are a part of her take on a "looking serious" business meeting outfit, which includes a black leather wrap jacket (modeled after her son's Turkish warrior toys), and one of her "secrets" -- Steve Madden platforms that she so proudly feels could pass for YSL.
"I used to be fascinated by people who were unlike me. But now I find that the people who I think are unlike me are like me," Bonnie states. In her 20s and 30s, Bonnie tread the unbeaten path and traveled to all ends of the globe for treasures that would inspire the collections of Ralph Lauren and Donna Karan. As a result, she has a massive collection of tribal jewelry and artifacts that blows all generic wear to bits with their magnetic attraction. 200-year-old antique Ivory from Ethiopia, the chunkiest of necklaces from Mali made from the same stone that houses are made out of, and tribal shin cuffs that would make the red carpet cool again (with a gown) are among her collectables. But beyond the actual objects themselves are her experiences with the people she met, all of which are documented in her breathtaking photographic book. Among the most mind-expanding is her encounter with the last cannibal in Malaysia, whose exquisite tattoos, sarong, and silver belt around his waist sent Bonnie reeling with a creative connection bar none (despite the shrunken heads on the walls).
Traveling turned Bonnie on to the inspiration of effortless dressing, like the sight of a monk draped in his red robes ("something you couldn't achieve even if you tried," she claims). Bonnie's own eponymous line reflects her quest for the marriage between elegance and ease, with one piece tuxedo pantsuits (her uniform) and indigo floral hand/wrist bands for Fall. But what has been most notably transmitted from her almost obsessive searching is how Bonnie has come almost full circle to focusing on seeing the beauty of the eccentricities of people from within, regardless of their aesthetic sense. At this point in her life Bonnie admits, "If they inspire me aesthetically and they're not interesting people, they don't do anything for me." Maybe this is why the second book she wants to do is about the penguins of Antarctica. For them, it's not just about looking good while stepping on everybody else, but about helping community members stay warm in order to survive. It's caring, not selfie.
Elisa & Lily
Bonnie's video was edited by Shane O'Neil
To find out more about Bonnie Young's fashion label, click here.