Ever since Marvel slayed us with the first trailer for Black Panther, folks have been feening to dress up like the citizens of the superhero’s native Wakanda. So, of course, when New York Fashion Week and Black Panther premiere week collided Monday night, there was a presentation inspired by Oscar winner Ruth E. Carter’s costumes from the film.
The “Welcome to Wakanda” fashion presentation had guests lined up around West 12th Street in New York City dressed in their most regal Ankara couture to get inside Industria Studios, the fashion-centric studio space and event venue where designs from Chromat, Cushnie et Ochs, Fear of God, Ikiré Jones, LaQuan Smith, Sophie Theallet and Tome were on display.
The immersion into Wakanda began with the walls, covered in leaves that branched out like ivy. At the entrance into the concrete jungle sat the blue Lexus LC 500 used during the film, with slashes from the Black Panther across its hood. Inside the purple-lit studio, seven stunning models posed in bespoke couture designs while standing on a moss-covered stage. Golden thrones were positioned on the stage like arrows on a compass, giving guests the hottest backdrop to flex on the ’gram.
But Industria really transformed into Wakanda when the stars of Black Panther—Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira and Winston Duke—held court on the black carpet. Mingling with guests and posing with the models inspired by their characters, the stars lit up the venue, taking laps around the stage and selfies with guests who dined on Wakanda Patties, made of chickpea and roast yam, and Cricket Tarts, made of chocolate-roasted crickets. Guests sipped signature drinks as artist and DJ Heron Preston kept the crowd—and singer Elle Varner—dancing till long past last call. Clearly, it’s lit in Wakanda.
When the bar closed, even after the lights came up and janitors began sweeping up the floor, the crowds still didn’t disperse, wanting to stay in the safe haven of black excellence just a little while longer. But with gift bags from event sponsor Redken in hand, the guests eventually shuffled off into the night, counting down the days till they can get back to the affirming space carved into existence by Black Panther.
Fortunately, the joy of the evening will continue on, as the seven bespoke pieces will be auctioned off by CharityBuzz to benefit the international humanitarian organization Save the Children. And the film-inspired capsule collections that were on display by shoe-and-accessories designer Brother Vellies, Black Panther jewelry and armor designer and official jeweler Douriean, and knitwear designer Josh Bennett are on sale today, Tuesday, for all the fans who want to keep the magic alive. #WakandaForever, indeed!