Black Panther is going to prove to be another in yet the cosplayers’ ultimate dream with its PVC, latex costuming and even a super cool mask, all adorning the perfectly chiseled bodies of some fantastically festooned African American actors and actresses. It is also a super cool comic story and introduces us to the world of Wakanda, the likes of which we have rarely seen in a movie of this kind. We got a glimpse of fantastic time and places when on Thor’s home world of Asgard and we all know about Wonder Woman’s Themyscira (yes, we know, we’re mixing DC and Marvel here). But Wakanda is a land like no other, as unique as the people it’s produced.
And that land pretty much influences costuming here, one hundred percent. While the performances by all, not just Chadwick Boseman (Prince T’Challa/Black Panther) are of the highest order, equally special is what costume designer and Oscar award-nominated Ruth E. Carter brings to the movie. Carter claims to have studied a wide variety of tribal fashions from across the African continent, bringing pattern, color, and style to Black Panther. As we are in Wakanda here so much and the place is pretty much a character all its own, it’s no surprise that Carter was particular in her textile art to make the place alive with heart and soul through her creations.
And there is the fact that the men and women in the film do look so all around perfect in what they are wearing. Really, seeing people in this kind of shape in these kind of clothes does get one “ooohing” and “ahhing,” regardless of one’s proclivities. Costuming be damned, these folks look sexy as all get out!
As Wonder Woman did for feminism in comics, it looks like Black Panther may do for people of color in the Marvel universe and the concept of retaining one’s culture across the world stage. And all of it enhanced by a costume designer’s attention to the detail of rich tradition and culture.