The 'Black Panther' Premiere Offered a Powerful Display of Fashion That Paid Homage to Black Culture

Also presenting: a dazzling sartorial rainbow.
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Also presenting: a dazzling sartorial rainbow.
Lupita Nyong'o in custom Atelier Versace at the premiere of "Black Panther" in Los Angeles. Photo: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Lupita Nyong'o in custom Atelier Versace at the premiere of "Black Panther" in Los Angeles. Photo: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

It's only January, but we're pretty sure we've just witnessed one of the most impactful red carpets (well, purple, if you want to get technical about it) of the year — and it had nothing to do with awards season. At Monday evening's "Black Panther" premiere in Los Angeles, not only did a jaw-dropping list of buzzy celebrities make an appearance, but they did so in a dazzling array of rainbow fashions, many of which payed homage to Black culture and African design.

Take, for example, Daniel Kaluuya, who plays W'Kabi in the highly-anticipated film, and wore a traditional East African Kanzu (a linen robe) beneath his velvet Burberry jacket. Meanwhile, David Oyelowo chose a traditional African tunic, while Chadwick Boseman, the film's titular star, chose a black, gold and purple printed shirt.

Lupita Nyong'o, who plays Nakia, a Wakandan spy and the Black Panther's love interest in the film, wore a custom Atelier Versace gown in royal purple — which coincidentally happened to match the carpet for the event — inspired by her character's strength. "There's definitely a nod to her warrior character Nakia here, without being costume-y," said Micaela Erlanger, Nyong'o's stylist, of the look in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. "It's a really glamorous take on our vision and it's very fierce, certainly."

Bold color choices were also a theme of the evening, with Angela Bassett choosing a canary yellow jumpsuit, Donald Glover in a head-to-toe orange ensemble and Danai Gurira going for a large swath of bubblegum pink.

Many of the women also paid homage to Black culture through their beauty choices; a slew of attendees, including Yara Shahidi, Bassett, Ryan Michelle Bathe (Sterling K. Brown's wife), wore their hair in full Afros, while Janelle Monáe went full-on royal with a literal crown. 

It's worth noting, however, that while these looks celebrated Black culture in inspiration and aesthetic, Black designers were indeed glaringly absent from the carpet. With celebrities choosing labels like Versace, Calvin Klein, Naeem Khan, Christian Siriano and Viktor & Rolf, it seems like a missed opportunity for stylists and stars alike.

Click through the gallery below to see a selection of the (many!) memorable fashion moments from the evening.

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