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DEBBIE NORRELL

The movie “Black Panther” is now playing and the opening weekend was a box office smash. Over a four-day span I went to see the movie twice. What I enjoyed most were the screening events held by several local groups. We showed up and showed out in African attire and some even donned a Black Panther mask. While the fashion show took place in the theater, the fashions on the screen should spark a fashion trend for men and a resurgence of African looks for men and women everywhere. My favorite was the look that T’Challa wore at the very end of the movie.

OK, please tell me that you didn’t get up and leave when the credits started to roll? There is a United Nations-type meeting and T’Challa is wearing a black suit with a black shirt completely buttoned and a print scarf. The scarf is bold and tied just right. Knotted over one shoulder and draped over the other. Gentlemen, if you are going to try this look the suit must be a trim fit, and the shirt should fit well at the neck. The scarf has to be generous and the print masculine. The wearer will have to be confident that he can leave the house in something other than a suit and tie.

I love to see new looks for men. A male friend once commented to me that women have so many choices as far as clothing selections while men are limited. I agreed with him but it takes a man with fashion sense, a body that is in pretty good shape and once again the confidence to wear the non-traditional looks. Another look that I noticed in the move was knit wear for men. Did you notice the long knit sweaters that the men wore? How about the Nehru-styled embroidered jackets? They were regal and handsome. The key to pull this off will be a well-made garment. Please, no cheap fabric.

Ladies, this movie should give you the confidence to break away from the weaves and wigs. I realize wigs and weaves are now considered a fashion statement but I know many wear them because of their desire for long hair. We all have choices but I’ve always been a fan of very short hair.

Let’s talk about the Black Panther costume designer Ruth Carter. According to Time.com, her resume as a costume designer reads like a roll call of some of the most culturally significant films of the past three decades: “Malcolm X,” “Selma,” “Do the Right Thing,” “What’s Love Got to Do With It?,” “Mo’ Better Blues”…but her latest film, the revolutionary and deservedly much-hyped “Black Panther,” might be her most notable project yet. With over 1,000 costumes that she conceptualized and created for the fantastical world of Wakanda—drawing inspiration from Afropunk fashion and traditional African tribal garments—it seems fitting that Carter calls “Black Panther” the most challenging, but ultimately most fulfilling film she’s worked on yet. “I see Academy Awards in her future.”

(Email Debbie at debbienorrell@aol.com)

 

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