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“Inspiring Beauty: 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair” Exhibit Opens This Month

Inspiring Beauty: 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair

March 18 through July 24, 2017

For fifty years, the Ebony Fashion Fair shaped a new vision of black America through contemporary fashion. This exhibition of stunning ensembles by leading designers tells the story of the fair’s creator Eunice W. Johnson, who overcame racial prejudice to bring global fashion to African-American audiences. The exhibition features dozens of ensembles by leading designers including Stephen Burrows, Hubert de Givenchy, Christian Lacroix, Bob Mackie, Missoni and Vivienne Westwood—as well as archival photographs and video to re-create the unique Ebony Fashion Fair experience.

The Ebony Fashion Fair exhibition was developed by the Chicago History Museum in cooperation with Johnson Publishing Company, LLC, and is presented by the Costume Council of the Chicago History Museum, and toured by International Arts and Artists, Washington, D.C.

Here are the museum events happening during the exhibition’s run:

Thursday, April 13, 12 PM

LECTURE

A Sartorial and Sociological Study of Stephen Burrows

Tanya Myers, fashion and textile professional

Free; no reservations required

 

Thursday, April 20, 12 PM

FILM  (94 minutes)

Ebony Presents the John H. Johnson Interview  (94 minutes)

Free; no reservations required

 

Thursday, April 27, 12 PM

GALLERY TALK

20th-Century Italian Designers and the Ebony Fashion Fair

Tanya Williams Wetenhall, GW assistant professor of design

 

Saturday, April 29, 2 PM

COMMUNITY DISCUSSION

Memories of Ebony Fashion Fair in D.C.

Moderated by Audrey Smaltz, Ebony Fashion Fair commentator (1970–77)

A collaboration with the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum

Free, but registration is required

 

Saturday, May 13

FAMILY DAY

Children’s Ball

10 AM–12 PM and 1–3 PM

$10/members; $15/public

(entrance for one adult and one child)

 

Thursday May 18, 6 PM

CONVERSATION

Ebony Fashion Fair and the European Connection

Shayla Simpson, former Ebony Fashion Fair model, commentator, and buyer

A collaboration with the Embassy of France and the Embassy of Italy as part of the European Month of Culture

$10/members; $15/public

 

Wednesday, May 24, 6 PM

LECTURE

African-American Dress and the Will to Adorn

Diana Baird N’Diaye, curator and cultural heritage specialist at the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage

$10/members; $15/public

 

Thursday, May 25, 12 PM

FILM (115 minutes)

Versailles ’73: American Runway Revolution

Free; no reservations required

 

Thursday, June 8, 12 PM

GALLERY TALK

Hanae Mori Evening Dress and Kimono Coat

Lee Talbot, curator

Free; no reservations required

 

Thursday, June 15, 6 PM

LECTURE

A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Inspiring Beauty

Joy L. Bivins, director of curatorial affairs at the Chicago History Museum

$10/members; $15/public

 

Saturday, June 17, 11 AM

CURATOR TOUR

Inspiring Beauty: 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair

Joy L. Bivins, director of curatorial affairs at the Chicago History Museum, and Camille Ann Brewer, curator of contemporary art

Free, but registration is required

 

Thursday, June 29, 12 PM

WORKSHOP

Fashion from Paper

Free, but registration is required

For more information, Visit the GW Textile Museum website.

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