By Eromosele Patrick Eidusi
Worth every bit of your time and worthy of celebration. If you haven’t gone to see Black Panther, you need to be arrested immediately, lol. That was just a joke. But really after all excitement built up, from the incredible trailers to the ear savvy soundtrack, all talked about and hyped about, the move sure exceeds expectations.
The movie ‘Black Panther’ is a celebration of blackness that both powerfully pays homage to African heritage, while showcasing what Africa could be through the highly advanced Wakanda, which is powered by Vibranium an indestructible and very coveted metal mined in never-colonised Afrofuturist Wakanda.
Black Panther had a powerhouse of A-list black actors such as Lupita Nyong’o, Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Danai Gurira and much more.
Directed by the Talented Ryan Coogler, in line to tell Wakanda’s story in a powerful way, Costume designer Ruth E Carter did ensure that costumes, hair and makeup were designed to create new, sure-to-be-iconic looks to inspire viewers and make the movie that much better.
We can say while Wakanda’s most valuable resource might be Vibranium, we can’t ignore that it’s home to a bunch of ridiculously well-dressed people. From princess Shuri’s new edition Vans to the ornate uniform of the Dora Mileage army. It’s clear that Ruth E Carter did her homework and took African Fashion to the next level in Black Panther.
Speaking to Vogue about how she brought Wakandan fashion to life, Carter said:
“I selected things from indigenous tribes and implemented them in a futuristic model.
“Because the culture that Ryan Coogler created is unique, I could combine elements of many African tribes – including the colour red, the triangle shape, neck rings and bead work – without worrying about cultural appropriation.”
Carter used actual African designers such as Ozwald Boateng and Ikire Jones. She and her team of experts drew inspiration from different cultures from all over Africa to present real African superheroes in their traditional elements.
We can see traces of this all through the film. Queen Ramonda’s (Angela Bassett) distinct and elegant head dress is nostalgic of the Zulu headdress called ‘Izicolo’ which is normally worn by married women at ceremonial events. Carter took on Winnie Mandela on inspiration for queen Ramonda’s wardrobe.
We really loved how good T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) looked in clothes, although he was topless almost throughout the film. When he wasn’t fighting topless, he was either in his Black Panther suit which was an embroidered Kaftan.
The embroidered Kaftan has recently been a wardrobe staple for men, especially in Nigerian, the style was limited to grandiose agbadas. Now, the option to embroider their brocade, Ankara or linen fabric is in Fashion, which adds a little umph to their wardrobes, much like T’Challa does in the movie.
Not to be left out is the all-female Dora Milaje army, whose eye-popping garms are enough warning to not mess with them. Their uniforms did seem of the clothes the Massai people of East Africa wear. What really likens Dora Milaje to the Massai people are the distinct red colours, and the spears which they use as weapons.
Dora Milaje was also seen wearing neck rings which the South Ndebele people of South Africa and Zimbabwe wear as part of their traditional dress and as a sign of wealth and status.
What more do you need in a film than the genius Princess Shuri who undoubtedly stole the star of the movie with her killer style. Shuri represents the new-age Wakanda, and is dressed as such. Everything she wore was couture and fitting to the futuristic element of the character herself.
Carter used recycled materials to also incorporate a forward-thinking factor and created a theme of structured lab-friendly whites for Shuri’s wardrobe. Her hair wasn’t left out which was in braids throughout the film, which like natural afro hair has made a comeback globally.
All the women we saw were either bald or had afro hair. There was no trace of relaxed hair in the movie.
The goal by carter was to showcase natural African hair, with no Eurocentric influence at all.
Nakia our very own (Lupita Nyongo’o) was seen wearing her hair in bantu knots which sometimes was shown as a twist- out, Queen Ramonda (Angel Basset) sported grey locs, while shuri had braids.
Photo credit: Marvel
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