11 thoughts on “Costume Designer Ruth E. Carter: the Frock Flicks Guide

  1. I really love the work she did in BLACK PANTHER and AMISTAD. You felt like you were actually there. Two others are SELMA and MARSHALL. I thought the tailoring on both MKL and TM suits were debonair and showed character. BTW isn’t is time for a Coretta Scott King biopic?

  2. Her work in Black Panther was glorious.So much detail,such a riot of colours,so much creativity and yet the costumes feeling more like clothes you could go forth and wear.Part of the reason why BL is the only superhero movie I like on a cinematic basis(everything in the movie was very balanced,with the story and the super heroey feel getting equal importance.I know FF doesn’t do superhero stuff,but wasn’t BL taking place a bit in the past?)

  3. Ruth E Carter won an Oscar for Black Panther, so it is definitely worth a place in a discussion of her carerr.

    No, it is not a historical drsma. So we saw none of the costumes.

  4. Black Panther is my favorite, for sure. The zoot suits from Malcolm X run second. They look sharp.

  5. I know, I was bending the rules, but it’s such an important film and the costumes are so influenced by traditional dress, which has historical roots.

  6. What a humongous, jaw dropping talent!!! I have seen (and loved) quite a number of these films and remember thinking, with each, how beautifully they were designed/dressed: without (to my shame) looking into who had actually designed the costumes for each. Ruth E. Carter is outstanding and has an innate instinct for both period and character. I am in awe!

  7. I’m so happy to see Ruth E. Carter’s work featured here. Yes, she is a badass. My favorite film of the bunch is Black Panther because it is just excellent on every level. I’ve seen several of the movies here, and every one of them she got the whole “world” right, especially Rosewood. When I watched that movie I thought, “These people look like people out of all the old photo albums I’ve seen.” And, to the set designer’s credit, “These old homes are exactly right.”

    Re: The “new” Roots: I watched all the Behind the Scenes features, and someone said that in discovering more about Kunte Kinte’s African village in the intervening years since the 1977 Roots, they discovered a connection between his village and indigo. So they wanted to make sure to have indigo colored costumes in the African scenes and to make the color blue a touchstone throughout the series.

    Re: African prints: Not surprisingly, the best examples I’ve seen of African prints are at the National Museum of African Art in DC (not to be confused with the new African-American History and Culture Museum, also in DC). The Textile Museum at George Washington University sold some awesome gifts with beautiful African prints made by African companies.

    Further reading: I HIGHLY recommend reading the exhibition catalog for Inspiring Beauty: 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair. It is the most interesting exhibition catalog I’ve ever read (and I’ve read plenty). If the exhibit comes to your local museum you MUST see it, if not, look it up online. I learned so much about so much–fashion, race relations, African-American culture, etc. I just opened up my catalog on a whim and came upon this still-timely observation, “At the extreme, wearing the wrong clothing can place a black man’s life at risk.” Thus, clothing continues to matter in black life in ways that it has never had to matter to whites. On a more upbeat note, it was so beautiful to see a fashion exhibit in which all the mannequins were black!

  8. I’ve seen a few of these films and am in awe of Ruth’s work. As usual FF, I now have a list of new films to explore including Marshall. You are my go to source for my Netflix queue!

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