Academy Award winning Costume Designer, Ruth E. Carter was honored today with the NAACP Vanguard Award for Costume Design during the 53rd NAACP Image Awards “The Colors Behind the Look: A Celebration of Fashion, Costume Design & Glam” fashion show. Hosted by celebrity stylist GooGoo Atkins, models ripped the runway showcasing original designs from Carl Jones, Byron Lars, Isaiah Hemmingway, Rodney Epperson, and Kevan Hall. The show also paid tribute to late fashion luminaries Andre Leon Talley and Virgil Abloh. Plus, two new competitive categories for next year’s submissions were introduced: Outstanding Costume Design and Outstanding Hair and Make-Up.
The Vanguard Award is presented to individuals whose work increases understanding and awareness of racial and social issues. Previous recipients include Steven Spielberg, Stanley Kramer and Prince. With a career spanning more than three decades in theater, cinema, and television, Ruth Carter has collaborated with some of the most prolific directors including Spike Lee, Steven Spielberg, the late John Singleton, Ava DuVernay, and Ryan Coogler. In 2019, Carter received an Academy Award in Costume Design for her work in Marvel’s Black Panther making history as the first African American to win in the category. During the event, attendees had the opportunity to view the Ruth Carter Costume Exhibit, which included designs from Black Panther, Coming 2 America, Selma, Lee Daniel’s The Butler, Dolemite is My Name, Malcolm X, and more.
Carter wows audiences and dazzles critics alike with Afrofuturistic looks that empower the female form and turn a superhero into an African King. Inspired by African tribal wear, Carter fuses traditional and contemporary style, while incorporating technology to deliver fashion and function, cementing her as one of the preeminent voices and experts on Afro aesthetics.
“To introduce this category of costume design is actually honoring a legacy of people who were instrumental in designing our Afrofuture”, said Carter during her acceptance speech. “Dora Milaje is the highest level of female fighting force in Wakanda and they are not sexualized – we dressed them to have empowered clothing; we dress them to have their bodies fully clothed, and we dressed them for you to take them seriously because they protected the King of Wakanda and the NAACP”.
The Hollywood Walk of Fame recipient’s depth of artistry, flowing together with her creative instincts, passion for culture and history, empathy for people, capacity for research, eye for detail, and ability to deliver the director’s vision, while infusing her own signature, makes her one of the most sought after and renowned costume designers in the world.
Make sure you tune in as the biggest stars in Black Hollywood gather for an amazing night to celebrate the beauty in Black culture. The 53rd NAACP Image Awards presented by Wells Fargo airs live on Saturday, February 26 at 8/7c on BET, hosted by Anthony Anderson.