With hundreds of parties, shows, and events on the New York Fashion Week schedule, it takes something truly special to impress. And last night, IMG and Harlem’s Fashion Row did exactly that, teaming up to host “Next of Kin,” an exhibition focused on the career of Ruth E. Carter, the costume designer behind Selma, Malcolm X, and Black Panther, among other zeitgeist-changing films. In her three-decade-long career, Carter has created some of the most iconic outfits in cinematic history, a selection of which was on display at Spring Studios. Styled by Ibrahim Kamara and featuring a cast of models in pieces sourced directly from Carter’s archive, the show is a compelling tribute to one of Hollywood’s legends, merging the world of film and style just in time for Fashion Week.
The celebratory vibe was exactly what IMG’s President Ivan Bart had in mind when he proposed the idea to Carter. “I asked her what would be her dream and how we could make that happen,” said Bart, who was moved by Carter’s “Heroes and Sheroes” retrospective at the Heinz History Center last year. “I’m proud we could bring this to New York and share the beauty of what Ruth and Ib have done.”
For Carter, showing during fashion’s biggest week made the experience all the more memorable. “I’m always in awe of the fashion, and the geniuses out there, because they create some incredible works of art,” she said moments before the event started. This marks the first time that the costume designer has collaborated with Kamara, though the pair clearly have an established creative kinship. “I remember in our initial meeting I asked him how he would describe himself,” says Carter. “He said stylist, but I think he’s so much more. He’s an artist, and [I knew] we were going to create some wearable art.”