African print designs brought bold colours and patterns to this Black Panther inspired editorial photoshoot above Victoria Falls. And it was talented African fashion designers, artisans and wedding planners that transformed a concept into a wedding extravaganza.
It’s impossible to ignore the brilliant creativity and style that African fashion has brought to the world – it is anything but boring! It is also diverse across the continent, and from each region and country comes different traditional outfits, and the modern takes on these. From wax print Ankara designs – known in Zambia and Malawi as chitenge, and kitenge in Kenya and Tanzania – to handwoven kente fabric originating from Ghana, and the geometric patterns that characterise shweshwe that comes out of Lesotho and its Southern African neighbours – African textiles and fashion reflect a rich cultural diversity and heritage.
So, when Zambian-born Mwai Yeboah of Love From Mwai and Exalt Africa dreamt about what a wedding in Wakanda – the fictional country in which the movie Black Panther is set – might look like, she knew African fashion would play a central part in telling the story. And in real life, the patterns, symbols and colours of African prints go beyond just their aesthetic appeal; they have traditionally communicated the tribe, marriage, and social status of the wearer. Each garment used to – and in some cases still does – tell a complex story, identifiable only by those that know how to read the fabric.
Mwai’s visionary wedding looked spectacular when it came to life on Livingstone Island. It was a gorgeous curation of opulent outfits for the bride and groom, guests dressed in chitenge and kente fabrics, and tables spread with traditional cuisine and decorative local plants. The festivities highlighted the nuances of African culture and nature and represented these aspects of Zambia in particular.
It all took place on the edge of a cliff that drops into the Batoka Gorge, against a backdrop of luscious greenery, rocky outcrops, and the spray of the Falls. If you’ve visited Livingstone Island and Victoria Falls, you will know that it can feel like you’re on top of the world. A place that is befitting a royal wedding as inspired by Black Panther.
For a different take on Ankara print designs, read this blog about a special fashion collaboration that took place during a guest’s honeymoon stay at Tongabezi.