The official dress code of the Black Panther premiere was royal. The carpet was purple. Attendees were told to dress in their majestic best and my GOD, did they deliver. I don’t mean to be extra here but in a year when the people most of the world recognize as Royals (yes, the British ones) will welcome their first black Princess (or Duchess, whatever) and we’ve already seen her face her share of racist bullsh-t, a red carpet like this is radical. It’s exhilarating. Royalty is not just one thing. THIS is royalty.
Lupita Nyong'o is the most regal human being I can think of. Last night, she wore custom Versace. Her exceptional look was inspired by her Black Panther character, Nakia. Lupita’s stylist Micaela Erlanger told The Hollywood Reporter that she has made a point on this press tour to dress Lupita in bold colours.
"There’s definitely a nod to her warrior character Nakia here, without being costumey,” says Erlanger. “It’s a really glamorous take on our vision and it’s very fierce, certainly.”
FIERCE. There’s a word to sum up the looks on the Black Panther red carpet. Erlanger is exactly right about Lupita’s dress being badass warrior-like without coming off as a caricature of the character. The armour detailing is brilliant. The high thin bun is PERFECT (hair by her longtime stylist Vernon Francois.)
Then, there’s Danai Gurira. DANAI. GURIRA. She also opted for bold and bright in a Viktor and Rolf column gown. I’m not usually a fan of pink or ruffles but this dress on Dania is giving me life. I love her matching pink nails. I love her the way her dress falls on her body. She looks like she’s going to prom in Wakanda and now all I want in life is a TV movie about Wakandan teenagers at prom.
Here is Danai with the rest of the Dora Milaje.
What is fashion week? What are runway shows? There is only the Black Panther premiere red carpet.
Black Panther costume designer Ruth E. Carter was on the red carpet talking about the style of Wakanda. She says she predicted the vibrancy and brilliance of last night’s premiere:
"How best to get the party started than to, on premiere night, have the cast, have the crew, have the directors and everybody participate in this explosion of patterns and African prints? Everyone can join in the fun!"
Ruth E. Carter better win all the Oscars for costume design for this movie. To Variety, Carter called the style of Black Panther “Afro-futuristic.” If anyone can claim to have gotten the “Afro-futuristic” memo –with a regal twist— it’s Janelle Monae. LOOK AT JANELLE MONAE. I can’t. I’m crying again. Janelle is in a royal blue and black Christian Siriano gown looking like an African goddess who came back in time from 2045 in her glammed up, crown-esque version of a kufi cap.
Honourable mentions go to my girl Issa Rae slaying in a Rosie Assoulin toga-inspired dress AND stuntwoman Janeshia Adams-Ginyard in a show-stopping traditional African co-ord set. I’ve been looking for the designer for 20 minutes. If you find it, please email or tweet me. The designer needs some love for creating this work of art.
Long may the Black Panther press tour reign.