Black Models Hailed As Fashion Revolutionaries


Yesterday at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City some of fashion’s fiercest came together to celebrate the groundbreaking fashion show held at the Palace of Versailles in France in November 1973.

In ’73, all of the fashion glitterati were on hand for the revolutionary show. Venerable French houses Yves St. Laurent, Christian Dior, and Givenchy shared the stage with iconic American designers Oscar de la Renta, Bill Blass, Halston and Stephen Burrows.

Despite each fashion house showing marvelous collections, that night in Paris belonged to the bevy of Black models who owned the runway.

Never before had the fashion world seen such a display of Black beauty grace the international stage, and nearly 40 years later, people are still talking about it.

“At Versailles, they had never seen so many flagrantly beautiful black women at one time, so that was a revolution,” said Barbara Summers, fashion historian and former Ford model.

“Black girls changed all that; they plugged fashion into what was happening now, and that meant R&B, rock ‘n’ roll, dancing, music, popular culture,” Summers told NPR. “They brought the electricity of popular culture into fashion.”

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