The Queen of Katwe star’s favorite new look was inspired by her latest film 

By Sharon Kanter
Updated October 07, 2016 12:36 PM
Credit: Bauergriffin/Splash News Online

If you’ve seen a photo of Lupita Nyong’o on the red carpet recently, you would have noticed she has introduced a new element to her elaborate ensembles: A head wrap.

The actress, 33, has worn them all throughout her press tour for her Uganda-set film Queen of Katwe, and it’s a look that means a lot to her, the star tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue.

“Going with the theme of the movie, they are my crowns,” says the star, who also appears in Tiffany & Co.’s Legendary Style campaign this season (seen below). The Disney drama tells the inspiring true story of a Ugandan girl who becomes a chess champion. Nyong’o plays her mother, Nakku Harriet.

“It’s the quintessential African accessory,” she says of the look, noting that she loves to research different styles on Pinterest.

Courtesy of Tiffany & Co.

So, where are they all coming from? Nyong’o and her team themselves. She works with her stylist, Micaela Erlanger, and her hairstylist, Vernon François, to customize each of the pieces. “It’s definitely teamwork to make the head wraps,” she says. “Micaela and I like to be inspired by the thing we’re promoting. So we find our own little secrets and sources of inspiration. So, for this film we’re inspired by the character I play.”

They source the fabrics themselves, too. “We use the fabric either from the designer that I am wearing or African fabrics that we sourced in east Africa and in the African fabric stores here in New York,” notes Nyong’o. “And it’s been lots of fun to work to create these crowns for my head and celebrate the release of this film.”

Below, a look at her most memorable red carpet moments of her Queen of Katwe press tour.

In Carolina Herrera and Tiffany & Co. jewels:

Credit: Dominik Magdziak Photography/Getty

In an Elie Saab gown and Graziela Gems:

Albert L. Ortega/Getty
| Credit: Albert L. Ortega/Getty

In a black and blue strapless dress with an orange accent:

Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty
| Credit: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty

In Mary Katrantzou and Tiffany & Co. jewels:

Credit: Mike Windle/Getty

In Erdem:

Randy Holmes/ABC/Getty
| Credit: Randy Holmes/ABC/Getty

In Kibonen NY:

Cindy Ord/Getty
| Credit: Cindy Ord/Getty

In a houndstooth and striped printed dress:

Credit: Ray Tamarra/GC Images

Read more of our interview with Lupita Nyong’o in this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now.