I remember my mother taking me to the Ebony Fashion Fair Show as a young girl. Whenever I would see the beautifully designed tickets on the coffee table, I knew it was that time of year again. I became overwhelmed with excitement because three things were going to happen for sure: one, my mother was going to put on her fur coat that she reserved for SPECIAL, cold occasions; two, I would get a chance to dress up and wear makeup just like her (couldn’t go anywhere near makeup otherwise); and three, I was going to see colorful, exotic fashion and elegant, black people. Those three things alone were worth living for!
The Ebony Fashion Fair Show (1958-2009) played a huge role in putting African American models on the map. Eunice Johnson, wife of John Johnson (Johnson Publishing Company), was a fashion guru with unique taste, and her talented styling techniques came out on the runway. She mixed exotic colors (color-blocking), paired expensive pieces with casual pieces, and presented evening and wedding gowns that were breath-taking. Mrs. Johnson is also known as one of the first black clients to purchase inventory from couture brands such as Yves Saint Laurent, Emilio Pucci, and Pierre Cardin.
The Fashion Fair was truly a work of art on stage. Like the clothes, the models (being all shades of brown and all sizes) were gorgeous. Proceeds from The Fashion Fair went to black charities, scholarships, and organizations in need.
Mrs. Johnson was truly a fashion pioneer. Her sense of style was futuristic. Most of the looks that were on her runway are in style today! We salute this diva; she was a true fashion icon.