Tag Archives: Black Panther

Black Panther’s opening weekend was meant for African fashion

Black Panther was a movie we saw bound to be set for a fashion movement. The Marvel film is one of kind filled with all black leads, which features the fashion icon Lupita Nyong’o, but the film itself takes a ton of inspiration from a full list of African groups. The list includes Maasai, Toureg, Akan, Mursi and Ndebele.

“We knew Black Panther wasn’t going to be just any other movie,” Mohammed-Hanif Abdulai of Ghana told Racked via email. “It was a movie about representation, culture, and diversity; a movie that had a message. In that spirit, we decided we were not going to treat this as just any other movie premiere.”

Abdulai has a company called Wildrness Productions which produces film reviews called Couch Critics. Their Twitter feed was filled with what Ghanaians wore to see Black Panther. Abdulai exlained:

“We asked our fans to come dressed in their best regal attires and they didn’t disappoint, showing up in their fine kente, batakari, dashikis, wax prints, ahenema adorned with rich jewelry, and beautiful drumming and dancing. We proudly turned the lobby of the cinema into a beautiful cultural fest. Ghanaians showed the world how proud they were of their culture.”

Black Panther wasn’t just a stable for African fashion, but it also allowed many people of African descent to show off their heritage without being criticized. Take Paris-born New Yorker Esther-Lauren Mutolo, a stylist, for example: instead of wearing a pro-black statement shirt, she went with an outstanding African print. She commented on how she felt about the piece:

“When I came across this jumpsuit in a local boutique, I immediately fell in love. This jumpsuit reminds me of everything I was told not to be in life as a black woman. It is loud, obnoxious, eye-catching, and colorful. It represents my personality in its truest form. For years, I was told to be quiet and fit in with society’s definition of what a woman of color should be. When I wore that jumpsuit, I felt like I was defying every expectation set upon me by society. I felt beautiful and black.”

“This is more than just a movie for us,” Mutolo says. “This is about being acknowledged for something that is not directly tied to slavery or some sort of white suppression. Black Panther is about black people getting a chance to be themselves… Black Panther gave blacks a chance to let loose and wear their most obnoxious, vibrant outfit without being judged.”

‘Black Panther’ premiere filled with stars and standout outfits

The “Black Panther” cast and attendants of the premiere stuck with the theme of the movie and dressed up as characters of the fictional nation of Wakanda. The attendees kept with the “royal attire” theme and showed up on the purple carpet in a massive display of regal, African-inspired outfits.

Taking inspiration from the film’s costumes (which were all designed by Oscar-winning costume designer Ruth E. Carter), Lupita Nyong’o channeled her character, Nakia, while wearing a purple, custom-made Atelier Versace chiffon gown which had a gold metal hardware harness that looked like armor. Chadwick Boseman, who plays the Wakandan ruler T’Challa, looked the part in a black and gold blazer made by Emporio Armani.

Letitia Wright plays Princess Shuri. Her character interpretation came in the form of a black-and-white embroidered Bibhu Mohapatra gown, which stylist Ade Samual helped pick.

The brilliant @letitiawright, aka Shuri, on the purple carpet!

A post shared by Black Panther (@blackpanther) on

“We talked about what the movie meant and how strong it was and wanted to give that same powerful feel to Letitia’s look on the red carpet,” said the stylist, who took inspiration from her own Nigerian roots while researching the theme before landing on the ethereal, embellished number for Wright. “Letitia plays such a riveting character and she brings a light to the role. Keeping her fresh and young was the idea.”

The cast weren’t the only people dressing for the occasion. Yara Shahidi wore a youthful, white Etro gown and Christian Louboutin sandals, while British-Nigerian actor David Oyelowo wore a traditional dashiki. “Insecure’s” Issa Rae showed out for the occasion in a pleated white Rosie Assoulin dress with rainbow-colored panels, paired with Giuseppe Zanotti metallic shoes.

Long live the king. #BlackPanther @chadwickboseman

A post shared by Black Panther (@blackpanther) on

Even actor and musician Janelle Monáe worked with stylist Alexandra Mandelkorn to put her own spin to the theme while maintaining her own persona.  “Something black and white, but also something sculptural and avant-garde that felt very regal,” explains Mandelkorn. She then went with a billowing skirt paired with a top featuring two-tone sleeves. Monáe finished the look with an Erickson Beamon tribal choker and a traditional black kufi cap filled with gold embroidery.

“It looks like a crown,” Mandelkorn said. “It was very fitting for the theme.”