Style

Published on January 26th, 2011 | by thevyne

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‘Battle of Versailles’ Fashion Show that Broke Racial Barriers

Today we came across this story and wanted to share it. We were so surprised we had never heard about it! Back in 1973, a fashion show now called the “Battle of Versailles” put legendary French designers head-to-head with new American designers (Halston, Oscar de la Renta and Anne Klein, to name a few). Oscar de la Renta recalled, “It was a show that was bound for disaster, and it turned out to be absolutely extraordinary.” Why was it so extraordinary? Eight African American models (including Bethann Hardison) were the American designers’ “secret weapon.” These beautiful black women strutted out on the runway with “head to toe fierceness” and ended up being showstoppers of the night. The French were flabbergasted, astonished and enthralled by these women. Racial barriers had been broken and the French designers started paying attention and respect to the new American designers. Granted, almost 40 years later, we still have a ways to go with more diversity on the runways, but it is nice to know that these American designers were willing to do something that had never been done before.

Check out the video from World News Tonight here:

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