Cameroonian designer dresses Viola Davis for the Golden Globes

Award-winning actress Viola Davis, queen of drama on screens big and small, walked the red carpet at the 78th Golden Globe Awards on Feb. 28 wearing a custom-designed African print gown made by a Los Angeles-based Cameroonian designer. 

Viola Davis wears a Claude Kameni design at the Golden Globes. Photo: Shamar Benoit
Actress Viola Davis in a Claude Kameni design @laviebyck @goldenglobes @claudekameni_ Photo: @shamarbenoitphotography

Puffed sleeves, one off-the-shoulder, tastefully reveals her upper body like a flower budding out of its stalk. Fit for a goddess, indeed. Davis’s dress is a colourful silk-cotton African print of yellow, red, black, blue and pink created by designer Claude Kameni, founder of the label Lavie by CK

The dress narrows toward the knee area then fans out into a wide fishtail at the bottom. Graphic images of intricately placed fans (or abstract Venus shells) create blocks of patterns all over the dress. Yes, you could call this creation the goddess dress and it would stick. Davis’s stylist Elizabeth Stewart collaborated with Kameni to design this elegant statement piece, which was perfect for Davis’s bold personality and for the Golden Globes. The two creatives, Stewart and Kameni, have collaborated before to dress Davis for her Vanity Fair cover in 2020. 

Kameni’s creations are in demand all over town after actress Amanda Seales of the TV sitcom Insecure wore her unique, custom-designed Lavie by CK gown while hosting the BET Awards recently. Black-ish star Tracee Ellis Ross wore one of Kameni’s pieces to host the American Music Awards in 2018. Fashion discerning celebrities such as Lexi Underwood, Chloe & Halle and Janet Jackson have been seen wearing Kameni’s designs recently too.  

The fashion brand’s fall/winter 2021 Royal Empire Collection draws inspiration from the Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall comedy sequel Coming 2 America, currently streaming. The movie features a wedding dress created by Kameni. The film’s costume director Ruth E. Carter called on Kameni for the authenticity of her pieces in keeping with traditional African style as well as their ability to fit in with the fictional world of Zamunda.

The line also graced the runway at New York Fashion Week in February.

Kameni grew up in Cameroon where she cultivated her passion for fashion and art and further developed her skills after relocating to the United States.

STYLIST: Elizabeth Stewart @elizabethstewart1
HAIR: Jamika Wilson @jamikawilson 
MAKEUP: Autumn Moultrie @autumnmoultriebeauty 
SHOES: Stuart Weitzman @stuartweitzman
MANICURIST: Christina Aviles @christinaviles
TAILOR: Martin Zepeda @martinzepedadesigns 
JEWELRY: Pomellato @pomellato
STYLIST ASSISTANTS: Jordan Grossman @jordan_grossman Kristin Taylor @kristinaelainetaylor
PHOTOGRAPHER CREDIT: Shamar Benoit @shamarbenoitphotography

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