The Black Panther effect: Style lessons to learn from the royals of Wakanda
Fans of Black Panther are in awe of the African fashion showcased in the film. Ever since its release, moviegoers are being seen dressed in their finest African attire, while going to watch the movie. And that’s not all; fans have even started their own hashtag, #WakandaCameToSlay, to capture the best of the movie-inspired looks. So, we wonder how all this came to be.
Designer Nikhil Mehra believes that until now, superhero movies have been about showcasing the power of superheroes, but this movie was centred on a certain culture and the emotions of the characters. Hence, it’s brought about a culture revolution around the world. “Revisiting cultures through emotionally charged modern superhero movies is a great way to revive ancient art and fashion. Thanks to Black Panther, African fashion is now in the limelight,” says Nikhil.
Will India follow suit like the rest of the world? “I see a huge fashion influence coming to India with this movie. Incorporating design values from the film into street wear is a great way to go,” says designer Anand Bhushan, adding, “I think Ruth Carter (costume designer for the movie) has beautifully merged African design influences in a contemporary and edgy format.”
Echoing the sentiment, designer Jenjum Gadi says, “Fashion is always about evolution. Due to the phenomenal success of this film, African and tribal fashion is going to be the flavour of the season in our country.”
Check out these looks and style lessons from the movie, picked out by the designers.
Fit for a king
The first look that caught our eye in the movie was this one. Chadwick Boseman’s character T’Challa is the king of the fictional nation Wakanda in the movie. This outfit worn by him in the movie has the right amount of swagger to be worn by a king. “African fashion includes a lot of embroidered outfits. This black sherwani-style outfit with African tribal embroidery is just what you need to be the centre of attention at a wedding or an evening function,” says Nikhil.
Classic westernwear infused with African tribal art
If you thought African fashion can’t be experimented with then you are in for a surprise. These three outfits in the movie are the perfect example of how African tribal artwork can be infused with westernwear, giving it an edgy twist. When characters played by Lupita Nyong’o (left), Chadwick Boseman (centre), and Danai Gurira go to the casino, all three of them can be seen in westernwear influenced with African tribal art. “ Lupita’s geometric print olive green dress, Chadwick’s black brocade blazer, and Danai’s halter-neck bright pink dress are all perfect examples of tribal art consisting of geometric lines, threads, and blocks incorporated in westernwear. If you want to glam up or add a bit of funk to your cocktail party look, then this is just what you need,” says Nikhil.
Accessorising it, Black Panther style
In this scene, Danai Gurira (left) flaunts a skin-tight black little black dress (LBD), Chadwick Boseman wears a suave black suit, Lupita Nyong’o sports a neon sheath dress, and Florence Kasumba can also be seen wearing a black LBD. However, it’s not their clothes that catch our eye but the accessories. “For guys, if you want to lift a boring outfit, then an African design-inspired scarf [like the one Chadwick is wearing] draped over the shoulder makes the outfit look dapper and suave. As for the ladies, African coiled neckpieces worn by Danai and Kasumba is an amazing way to make your classic LBDs stand out,” says Anand.
One for the royals
T’Challa (played by Chadwick Boseman) likes to flaunt his royal heritage in the film and his sartorial choices reflect that. “This modified version of bandi jacket with African embroidery is versatile enough to be worn at any event. Its subtle navy blue colour is very elegant for Indian men,” says Jenjum.
Dressed to kill
It’s summer time, which means pool and cocktail parties are going to be all around. If you are wondering how you can dress to kill at such parties, then check out this outfit worn by Letitia Wright (who plays the role of T’Challa’s sister in the movie). “This white-coloured bodycon dress with turtle neck mesh is the perfect combination of sexy and chic for evening pool parties,” says Jenjum.