– (100% Good Rated) Merging the Aesthetic with the Practical

Carter explains that it was important that the outfits were sensual yet comfortable and
realistic, ‘…that even young girls could feel comfortable wearing…’89 The Dora Milaje, the
team of elite warriors, are dressed in leather drapes, harnesses and chrome rings, which
resemble traditional African tribal armour (see Appendix K)
90. She notes, ‘the harness wraps
around the female body in a very sensuous way. It doesn’t exploit it by showing too much
skin. It is actually a really functional uniform that is also believable.’91 Her costumes
highlight their femininity, yet the strong protective materials make them functional to the
character(s). For women who identify with and admire their favourite superhero, Carter’s
designs not only empower her actors they also empower her audiences.
The use of contemporary fabrics and materials are central to Carter’s designs, permitting her
to alter the restrictions of traditional western dresses. She discusses maintaining the visual
aesthetics yet introducing new practicalities to her designs; in the casino scene for example,
Nakia is dressed in a long formal gown (see appendix L)
92, yet later is required to fight in the
same dress. At first, she displays stereotypical female allure in her beautiful dress, but hidden
qualities of the design help to later support her in the fast-paced action scene. Carters’ use of
contemporary materials withstands and supports the actions of the wearer: ‘she needs to look
elegant, and therefore needs to wear an elegant dress. She also needs to be able to fight, so
she needs to have a dress that will allow her to move and to fight.’93 Though her designs draw
the audiences’ gaze towards the female bodies, the dress is made to be strong and flexible.