Groundbreaking costume designer Ruth E. Carter is releasing coffee-table book

Ruth E. Carter's book will give fans and fashion lovers an intimate look at the masterful career of the two-time Oscar-winning costume designer.

Soon, the iconic costumes from tentpoles in Black cinema, such as “Do the Right Thing,” “School Daze,” “Malcolm X” and — most recently — the “Black Panther” franchise, will be arriving on a coffee table near you. 

After becoming the first Black woman ever to receive two Academy Awards and only the second costume designer ever to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Ruth E. Carter will achieve another milestone: author.

“The Art of Ruth E. Carter: Costuming Black History and the Afrofuture, from Do the Right Thing to Black Panther,” a book chronicling Carter’s iconic 30-plus years as a costume designer for film, television and the stage, is scheduled for a May 23 release. It is currently available for pre-order

Ruth E. Carter Black film Black costume design Black style
Ruth E. Carter attends the “54th NAACP Image Awards” nominees’ luncheon on Feb. 4, 2023 at the Fairmont Century Plaza in Los Angeles. (Photo by David Livingston/WireImage)

Following Carter’s career from her start creating the vibrant style of Spike Lee’s “School Daze” to her most recent foray into Afrofuturism through her work costuming “Wakanda Forever,” the book — for which “Black Panther” star Danai Gurira wrote the foreword — delves into how Carter brought each iconic character to life through both innate style and meticulous research, interlaced with anecdotes and wisdom she’s gained along the way.

Carter also recounts what it’s been like to dress some of the greatest talents in Hollywood, including Eddie Murphy, Samuel L. Jackson, Angela Bassett, Halle Berry and the late Chadwick Boseman. Further, she reimagines some of Black history’s most pivotal figures and moments. 

(Photo credit: Chronicle Books)

According to publisher Chronicle Books, Carter’s ongoing work is a celebration of Black heroes and sheroes. Similarly, this book, which includes intimate behind-the-scenes images, Carter’s sketches, and notes, is an offering of inspiration to the next generation of storytellers. 

“I really love movies and I love Black history and I love telling stories of people. The history of Black America is something that I have been close to for a long time,” Carter said in a recent NPR interview. 

About costuming, she noted that just about anything can be one when enough mindfulness is applied. “We create a voice that we want to project to the world without us saying a word. And that’s what costumes do,” she said. “They communicate amongst each other. Either they’re collaborative or they are in opposition. They say who you are or who you want to be or how you want to be perceived. And that’s the part of clothing that can be so simple and yet so complicated.” 

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