Sunday, April 23, 2017

Ebony Fashion Fair

In 1958, Eunice Johnson, wife of the publisher of Ebony Magazine, organized the first Ebony Fashion Fair. For 50 years, this show brought couture to cities all across the U.S. Unlike the expressionless look-alike teenagers who stomp down so many  runways today, Mrs. Johnson's vision was positively revolutionary. Gorgeous models of every skin shade from pale latte to deepest chocolate glided, shimmied, slinked or danced down the runway, highlighting the character of each outfit with glamour and joy. Eventually, Mrs. Johnson began choosing models in a wider range of sizes to more accurately reflect American womenhood. This Todd Oldham gown from the 1997/98 show was worn by one of those models. Acknowledging our wondrous variety of skin colors and body types is something that the fashion industry still so often either forgets to consider or chooses to ignore. They could learn a thing or two from Mrs. Johnson. "Inspiring Beauty: 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair" is currently on display at the Textile Museum in Washington, DC.