Style Court

Textiles, Art History, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes 2006-2016


Yards of Style

[Screengrabs and stills from Half of A Yellow Sun.]

A few weeks ago, I finally noticed that Half of A Yellow Sun is now available to rent through iTunes.

If you don't already know the story, it's a 1960s epic set in post-colonial Nigeria with a plot focused on chic, young, English-educated Nigerian twins Olanna (Thandie Newton) and Kainene (Anika Noni Rose). Chiwetel Ejiofor from 12 Years a Slave plays Newton's lover (and ultimately husband), the revolutionary academic Odenigbo. From a visual perspective, it's hard not to be mesmerized by the film's abundance of prints, patterns and vibrant, saturated colors.

Via interiors, architecture and clothes, contemporary 60s styles mash-up with more traditional, regional looks.

Historically Nigeria has been known for its own indigo-dyed cloth as well as strip-woven textiles, and of course eye-popping "Wax Hollandais" patterns have long favored in the area, too. Combine those traditions with the fashion-forward nature of the twins, and it makes sense that nearly every scene is infused with yards of style -- a phrase I wish I'd thought of on my own. But actually I snaked it from the Fowler's somewhat related new exhibition, Yards of Style, African-Print Cloths of Ghana.

[Image via the Fowler Museum at UCLA.]

This show explores factory-produced printed cloth found for sale today in West African markets, encompassing goods made in Ghana, other areas of Africa, China and Holland. The exhibition continues through December 14, 2014.  


Emile de Bruijn said...

I read somewhere that some of these textiles originally came from Indonesia and were transported to Africa by the Dutch East India Company - an amazing example of early modern globalisation. And now some of these patterns are also part of the visual identity of Black British communities in London and elsewhere.

Lisa Hjalt said...

What an interesting post because I'm reading the book! I wanted to read it before seeing the film and I'm so enjoying it. I can easily picture Newton in that role and now that I have seen these stills I'm even more excited to see the film.

Style Court said...

Emile -- yes, I believe the cloth with certain quirks became particularly popular in Africa, as opposed to Indonesia, and that's how Dutch Wax resist prints came to be associated with the continent. Definitely early globalization and right up your alley!

Lisa -- let me know what you think when you see it.