2018 saw the première of one of the biggest movies of our decade: The screening of “Black Panther” invoked a spirit of African Power and curiosity across the globe. And with a stellar all black A-List cast, Black Panther reminded the world that Africa is a force to be reckoned with.
But this is nothing new – especially not in fashion. For years, we’ve witnessed on international runways, designers looking to Africa for inspiration – from prints to tribal markings and war paint.
Tribal makeup has been a fixture in African culture for ages, typically made from clay, mud or paint used to signify a celebration, a ceremony, markings of an esteemed warrior or tribe or even just in everyday life. Very much like we use makeup today, the clever use of color is often attached to an emotion, paired with flowers, beads and even shells used as a personal form of expression.
Girls from the Suri people were encouraged to express themselves and introduce themselves into society through makeup. Yellow symbolizes joy, energy & warmth while green expresses growth, life or healing. The Masai adorn themselves in a fiery “do-not-mess-with-me” red.
A visual that immediately caught my eye as a makeup artist is a young Suri woman who, if you look closely, has chosen key areas of the face that we in the modern world of makeup artistry would use for contour and highlighting. It leaves me to wonder, has Africa been trendsetting all this time?
Ultimately, some may say that makeup is the camouflage of the modern day world and perhaps along with African inspired trends marks a shift in thinking and pride that should be encouraged.
Is make up the last piece of the puzzle or the icing on the cake? My recent curiosity inspired by these ancient African rituals led me searching beyond the surface … stay tuned for the next article where we go skin deep.