Style Icon: Lupita Nyong’o

// by Shamika Tamhane //

Since her highly acclaimed breakout role in 12 Years a Slave, Lupita Nyong’o has made the previously monochromatic red carpet pop with colour and vibrancy.

The conveyor belt of black and white gowns has been banished for something more outgoing. Whilst others may be dominated by such bold clothing, Lupita wears the clothes – the clothes do not wear her. Her eye-catching looks have made her more than memorable on the red carpet.

Never one to follow the crowd, she favours feminine cuts with an energetic, youthful feel. She infuses a traditionally feminine aesthetic with modernity through daring colour choices, clean lines and unique fabrics. With accessories, it is often believed that ‘less is more’; Lupita challenges this convention through her willingness to use plenty. In her episode of ’73 Questions’ with Vogue, she revealed that wide brimmed hats were her all-time favourite fashion trend.

The influence of her childhood in Kenya is apparent through her love of head wraps, showing a pride for her heritage. Hollywood’s diversity problem still persists, but Lupita has played a significant role in bringing women of colour to the forefront of fashion through her sartorial choices and outspokenness on the restrictive beauty standards of the West. Her speech concerning the beauty of black women at the Essence Black Women in Hollywood luncheon revealed her past insecurities as a teenager. In overcoming these anxieties, in what can often be a prejudiced industry, Lupita is truly a style icon for all women.

We’ve put together some of her best looks:

1. Wearing Prada at the 2014 Academy Awards


The ethereal material and powder blue colour of this Dior gown is hyper feminine – a princess dress if ever there was one. The cut is simple and the material is light, creating a floaty feel.

2. Wearing Dior at the 2014 BAFTA Awards


This is perhaps the dress which sealed Lupita’s reputation for loving bright hues. The glossy jewel toned fabric is complemented by a metallic belt.

3. Wearing Prada at the 2014 Met Gala


There is so much to love about this photo; her pose truly captures the drama and liveliness of the dress which is reminiscent of a 1920s flapper. Green remains her favourite, along with a range of textures to catch the eye.

4. Wearing Giambattista Valli at the Essence Black Women in Hollywood luncheon


This ensemble’s structured tailoring is thoroughly modern and sophisticated. Accessories are kept minimal to ensure the main focus is on the well-cut outfit.

5. Wearing Balmain for the premiere of Queen of Katwe in South Africa

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A bold halter neck dress accessorised with a muted hair wrap. And the makeup tops it off perfectly!

Featured images:!022513-fashion-beauty-oscars-red-carpet-kerry-washington



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