Congratulations are in order for costume designers Ruth E. Carter and Derica Cole Washington! Each of these ladies has been officially recognized for their work by the Costume Designers Guild for their 24th annual awards. 

The Costume Designers Guild Awards (CDGA) celebrate excellence in costume design for film, television, and short-form works. Both Carter and Washington are nominated in the category of Excellence in Contemporary Film. 

Washington’s nomination comes for her work in the A24 film Zola, the (mostly) true tale that backs up the viral 2015 Twitter thread that held a captive audience and quickly garnered Hollywood’s attention. The stripper-centric on-screen story was punctuated by carefully selected wardrobe choices that warned of the underlying dangers facing the film’s protagonist.  

As Washington revealed to Dazed in 2021, she was aiming to give viewers a sensory cue to the titular character’s fanciful-turned-harrowing journey with her wardrobe selections. “Zola’s main look – a blue gingham set – is a nod to her being our Dorothy,” Washington said. “And the shoes she wears throughout, the Nike Cortez with the red swoosh, play into this idea of the ruby red slippers Dorothy herself wears.”

Riley Keough (left) stars as “Stefani” and Taylour Paige (right) stars as “Zola” in director Janicza Bravo’s ZOLA, an A24 Films release. Cr. A24 Films

Already known as a legendary costuming expert, Carter’s nomination comes from her work on the highly-anticipated 30-years-later sequel, Coming 2 America, which featured bright, colorful, African-heritage-inspired clothing.

As Carter revealed to The Cut last year,

the film included over 800 separate costumes, with 90% of them being custom-made. Carter says she pulled inspiration not only from traditional African designs but from the world over, to cue to viewers that Zamunda is a major player on the world stage rather than some remote, little-known nation. 

“I wanted to show that Zamunda wasn’t an isolated place where you can only be West or East Africa, and not one that only had an African presence — one that had a world presence, a world embracing the aesthetics,” she said. “That’s the kind of a view of Africa I was interested in.”

Garcelle Beauvais stars in COMING 2 AMERICA Photo Courtesy of Amazon Studios

Winners will be announced live at the CDGA ceremony in Santa Monica on March 9th, with information on this year’s host, presenters, and nominees soon to follow in the coming weeks.

“Throughout the pandemic, we’ve been reminded how important costume design is, not only to entertain—but to inspire,” said Salvador Perez, President of the Costume Designers Guild. “We are thrilled to celebrate in person this year, with safety as our priority. We want to recognize our nominees and all of their phenomenal work as we take the CDGA into a new direction.”

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