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Celebrity Style Inspiration: African Inspired Red Carpet Looks

For certain celebrities, their moment in the spotlight isn't just about their work but also about the fashion statements they make on the red carpet. They often find themselves honoured at prestigious events and featured in magazines. As they gracefully stride down the red carpet, they not only attract the attention of cameras but also inspire fashion trends and garner admiration from fans and critics alike.

woman on red carpet

The premiere of Wakanda Forever specifically provided a platform for celebrities to showcase Afrofuturism-inspired styles, with actress Dora Milaje leading the way. Her outfit featured African prints and regal embellishments, epitomising the elegance and grandeur of African royalty.

The 2024 Grammy Awards also witnessed a surge of fashion inspiration drawn from African influences. South African artist Tyla dazzled in a custom Versace dress embellished with crystals, while Ayra Starr made a bold statement in a sky-blue gown from JéBlanc. 

Nigerian stars like Asake, Fireboy DML, and Blaqbonez also made waves on the red carpet with their impeccably tailored suits, earning spots on various best-dressed lists in publications like Variety

These outfits not only enhance the celebrities' appearances but also serve as a testament to their taste and style sensibilities.

What makes the red carpet such a happening?

The red carpet is the ultimate show for glamour and prestige. A stage for everyone excited to see and wants to be seen. It's where interviewers rush to ask about designers and outfits, cameras flash to capture every moment. And let's not forget the world is watching to see glimpses of their favourite celebrities.

Even far from the red carpet is where the magic happens. Magazines, social media and everyone in between all give their take on the best-dressed or worst days after the red-carpet event has ended. 

For the African Magic Viewers Choice Awards (AMVCAs), the red carpet is used to showcase African-inspired attire worn by celebrities. Here, the magic of African fashion takes centre stage, celebrating the continent's rich cultural heritage and diverse sartorial traditions.

Iconic African Inspired Red Carpet Looks

Of course, as an African fashion brand, we're as excited about these red carpet-events as you are. We really start ugly crying when we see iconic moments on the red carpet inspired by African fashion. So let's have a look at some of these moments.

1. Lupita Nyong'o at the Oscars, 2014

Lupita Nyong'o made history at the 86th Academy Awards when she arrived in a breathtaking sky-blue Prada gown. The dress, adorned with pleats that resembled traditional African drapery, paid homage to her Kenyan roots. Nyong'o's win for Best Supporting Actress for her role in "12 Years a Slave" cemented her status as a Hollywood icon, a beacon of African beauty and talent on the global stage.

2. Chadwick Boseman at the Met Gala, 2018

Chadwick Boseman, the Black Panther we all know and love and who we all miss, stunned audiences at the Met Gala in a custom Versace suit inspired by African royalty. The amazing beadwork and creative patterns showcased the rich cultural heritage of Wakanda, the fictional African nation depicted in the film. Boseman's choice of attire not only honoured African traditions but also sparked conversations about diversity and representation in the fashion industry.

3. David Oyelowo at the Golden Globes, 2015

The rich burgundy fabric and gold embroidery reflected Oyelowo's pride in his African heritage and challenged conventional notions of red carpet-attire. Oyelowo's fashion statement sparked conversations about cultural representation and diversity in Hollywood, inspiring others to embrace their roots on the red carpet.

4. Danai Gurira at the SAG Awards, 2019

Zimbabwean-American actress Danai Gurira captivated audiences at the Screen Actors Guild Awards in a striking red gown by Rwandan designer House of Tayo. The dress featured crafty beadwork and geometric patterns inspired by African craftsmanship, showcasing Gurira's commitment to celebrating African artistry and creativity. Gurira's red carpet-appearance highlighted the beauty and diversity of African fashion on the global stage.

5. Winnie Harlow at the Cannes amfAR Gala, 2020

Canadian model Winnie Harlow made a bold statement at the Cannes amfAR Gala in a vibrant Ankara print gown by Nigerian designer Lisa Folawiyo. The eye-catching colours and patterns showcased the beauty of African textiles and craftsmanship, while Harlow's confidence and grace embodied the spirit of African-inspired fashion. Her presence at the prestigious event shows the growing influence of African designers in the fashion world.

6. Michael B. Jordan at the Met Gala, 2019

American actor Michael B. Jordan made a statement at the Met Gala in a custom Off-black suit inspired by African clothing. The creative embodiment of the designs and crystals highlights Jordan's appreciation for African culture and craftsmanship while his red carpet appearance sparked conversations about the intersection of fashion, art, and identity. Jordan's bold sartorial choice challenged traditional notions of formal wear and celebrated the richness of African heritage on the global stage.

Final thoughts

These were some of our favourite red carpet looks, but we know there could be tonnes more. As the popularity of African-inspired fashion increases, it is likely we'll see more red-carpet looks inspired by culture and heritage. 

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