By Erin Moonyeen Haley
Ever in iconic form, Viola Davis is all chic black-and-white elegance on four separate covers of ELLE Brazil’s September issue. Promoting The Woman King - which opens in September - the actress is nothing less than statuesque poise and old Hollywood glamour in a quartet of looks that cultivate a regal ambiance befitting the actress and the film.
Photography and graphic design duo Marcos Florentino and Kelvin Yule of MAR+VIN are quite adept at dovetailing fashion and politics, eschewing Brazilian conservativeness for almost effervescent inclusivity. They succeed brilliantly with Davis’s layout, making it clear that a new queen is alive and well in the Hollywood stratosphere.
One cover features Davis in a sculpted hat by Cecilio Leather Designs, set at an almost ninety-degree angle, her eyes luminous as she gazes with aplomb at the viewer.
Of her role as Nanisca, a fictionalized warrior and leader of the Agojie, an all-female army in the kingdom of Dahomey in Africa, Davis has said that "We want to take the reins, and this film is a reflection of that, of a desire of mine to see more black women on screen, because I don't see that.” This film not only offers that unique view, it also delivers an unflinching gaze at the origins of the transatlantic slave trade, reminding viewers that Africa has always been a land of kingdoms and wealth, with civilizations that could eclipse any throughout Europe and America.
The ELLE looks that Davis wears are at once futuristic with sharp shoulder silhouettes but also playfully Art Deco with topiary headdresses and white sheath dresses with manicured hands framing the physique.