By Erin Moonyeen Haley
This November, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever takes up where the first movie left off, with a bittersweet nod to the insanely talented Chadwick Boseman as the warriors of his technologically-sleek utopia seek to defend and preserve their kingdom after the cataclysmic death of King T’Challa.
It goes without saying that the death of Boseman was a massive heartache, as his charismatic persona infused the MCU hero with gravitas and magnetism. With his spirit very much alive, Hollywood’s finest showed up at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood in all manner of glitz and glamour, paying tribute to the titular actor while also ensuring that one of the most sophisticated worlds in the Marvel franchise resurrected itself amid the strobe lights and flash of paparazzi bulbs.
With her single “Lift me Up” dedicated to Chadwick Boseman’s legacy, Rhianna’s ballad has been equally long-awaited. The song itself is stripped down for a song in the Rhianna oeuvre, forsaking synthesizing clutter for an accompanying choir amid haunting lyrics such as “Lift me up/Hold me down/Keep me close/Safe and Sound”.
For the event itself, Rhianna opted for a Rick Williams wrap-around sequined crocodile-olive-gray dress that only recently debuted on the runway. The tight bodice loosened to a deflated hula-hoop at the hips, with a futuristic cut thanks to exposed seams and clay-colored opera gloves that molded to the chanteuse from fingertips to upper arm. Her hair hung loose in sculpted, beachy waves which, when tucked behind the ear, revealed REZA black rhodium Ruban earrings that were styled as an earcuff.
The singer posed with Simone Ledward-Boseman, who, like others in the cast, wore white - a color worn during some funerals in Africa. The gown itself had a deep sweetheart neckline and sweeping skirt that created a floating effect as she moved across the purple carpet.
Looking at stars like Danai Gurira and Angela Bassett, it's no wonder that fashion mags like W have decreed that the Black Panther cast is among the best dressed in the superhero stratosphere. Taking the violet overtones of the Black Panther world as inspiration, many of the cast wore the stirring shade. Danai stunned in a Robert Wun concoction that was a melange of designs and cuts thanks to a pleated, accordion-style skirt and dahlia-petaled layers that flounced from shoulders to naval.
Angela Bassett was a statuesque runway queen in Moschino. The strapless gown - which was a colorized mix between sangria and magenta - was eye-catching on its own, but paired with the crepe-paper style ruffles across the bodice and the top-layer peplum skirt, it was clear she was doing her Queen Ramonda alter ego justice. The slit on the longer skirt perfectly revealed La Silla heels in the same berries-and-merlot shade as the gown.
Letitia Wright provided a purple respite by wearing an Alexander McQueen Spring 2023 tuxedo. Her suit was an intentional and loving nod to a suit that Boseman himself wore in 2018. Crystal harness embroidery in the front and back created a delicate opulence, while the Punk Chelsea Boots balanced the delicacy with defiance apropos to Shuri's determined demeanor.
Abbott Elementary sweetheart Quinta Brunson traded in the utilitarian teacher digs for a dress that was pure black tie affair. Her denim-blue velvet gown was wrapped, Grecian style, in gold lamé, giving it a disco fever from bodice all the way to the tips of the pleated skirt.
Lupita Nyong'o glowed in a white Balmain gown whose tight, wrapped skirt hinted at Egyptian queen vibes. With its symmetrical cutouts and one shoulder strap, the dress was paired with an intricate seashell crown and diamond earrings.
Dominique Thorne was tapping into the 'girls just wanna have fun' vibe, with a cindi-lauper-pink tulle gown that floated all around her like sweet sixteen streamers. Paired with elbow-length black tulle gloves and black stockings, there was nothing but celebration in the air.
(Chloe and Halle Bailey)
(Michael B. Jordan)