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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Inspiring Beauty: 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair

Yves Saint Laurent evening dress, fall/winter 1979-80

Christian Lacroix evening ensemble, fall/winter 1987-88

Jean Patou cocktail ensemble, fall/winter 1986-87

Nina Ricci cocktail ensemble, fall/winter 1987-88

Jean Patou evening dress, fall/winter 1986-87

Issey Miyake cocktail ensemble, fall/winter 2007-08

Pierre Cardin gown, fall/winter 1988-89
Emanuel Ungaro evening dress, fall/winter 1987-88
Pierre Balmain cocktail dress and stole, fall/winter 1988-89

Emilio Pucci "Palio" activewear, spring/summer 1988

Vivienne Westwood ball gown, fall/winter 2002-03

Emanuel Ungaro bridal gown, fall/winter 1996-97

Henry Jackson ball gown, 2005

Above are a few of my favorite looks from the wonderful "Inspiring Beauty: 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair", now showing at the Chicago History Museum. The exhibit is an homage to the Ebony Fashion Fair, a traveling charity fashion show created in 1958 by Ebony Magazine's Eunice Johnson. During its 50 years of existence the event brought the most luxurious garments to the African American community, besides raising over $55 million for charities like the United Negro College Fund.

This Chicago History Museum's retrospective is most definitely inspiring, filled with some of the most fascinating haute couture creations displayed on custom-designed mannequins. The Ebony Fashion Fair's trajectory is also illustrated by videos, photos and installations proving how empowering fashion can be.

More info here.