Dana lives in Seattle, and Tracie lives in Germany. We are businesswomen, writers and humorists. We write about life, dating, and today's modern women.
They paved the way. Let me spell that out and put an exclamation point after the PERIOD!
They paved the way for women of color such as Naomi Campbell who turned 45 years old yesterday to be a part of a uber international vision of beauty club, called Super Model.
They paved the way for Vanessa Williams to be crowned the first African American Miss America.
They paved the way for women like Oprah to see the likes of themselves on television and in print.
They paved the way for First Lady Michelle Obama to showcase African American fashion designers such as Tracy Reese.
They paved the way for Beverly Johnson’s rise to fame when she became the first African-American model to appear on the cover of American Vogue in August 1974.
They paved the way for friends like Michael Greer’s handsome face to become “The Look” for Eddie Bauer and Nordstrom.
They paved the way for my mother, sisters, and I to walk the runways in designer fashion shows for all the major Department Stores.
Tonight, please join us at the Bellevue Art Museum for this historic exhibit that paved the way for all the colors of beautiful.
The exhibit showcases fashions from the Ebony Fashion Fair that began in 1958 and traveled America until 2009. The show was an elegant fashion show with black models exclusively featuring European fashions from the couture houses of top designers, like Yves St Laurent, Oscar de la Renta, Pierre Cardin, Valentino and Emanuel Ungaro. Eventually African-American designers like Patrick Kelly and Stephen Burrows were featured.
Over the years the fair has raised more than $55 million for civil rights groups, hospitals, community centers and scholarships.
It was not always easy. In the early years, when the chartered bus bearing the dozen or so models and the fashions selected by Mrs. Johnson stopped at gas stations in the segregated South, signs said, “No Blacks in the Ladies Room.”
Resistance also surfaced on renowned runways. “We were the ones who convinced Valentino to use black models in his shows back in the ’60s,” Mrs. Johnson told The New York Times in 2001. “I was in Paris, and I told him: ‘If you can’t find any black models, we’ll get some for you. And if you can’t use them, we’re not going to buy from you anymore.’ That was before he was famous.”
I was fortunate to recently have lunch with Terri Springer Walker, a Fashion Fair Model who started in 1959. I thanked her for paving the way…
Let’s all give thanks to the Bellevue Art Museum for sharing this important history!
Hope to see you for wine, music, and a feast for your eyes 510 Bellevue Way NE
Bellevue, WA 98004 6 pm!
They paved the way!