17 February 2012 12:16 AM, PST | Clothes on Film | See recent Clothes on Film news »

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With its explosive mix of comedy, drama and racial politics, Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing (1989) remains one of the most controversial and powerful films of the 80′s. Much of its enduring popularity can be attributed to an iconic aesthetic achieved through a combination of the writer-director-star’s expansive yet intimate vision, Ernest Dickerson’s glowing cinematography and – journalist Ashley Clark argues – Ruth E. Carter’s vibrant, expressive costume work. Carter’s contribution is vital in three key areas: establishing a sense of place and adding depth to the characters, supporting the film’s themes, and contributing to a bold onscreen representation of blackness which, as suggested by Ed Guerrero, “challenges and erodes the skin-colour hierarchy of Hollywood’s classic optical hegemony” (Guerrero 2001, p. 62).

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