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Any loyal R29 reader knows: Fashion and culture are not mutually exclusive. Case meet points in The Chicago History Museum, a brand-new exhibit that tugs at our sartorial heart strings. Inspiring Beauty: 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair pays homage to the amazing ride of Chicago's Johnson Publishing Company, its traveling fashion show, and the incredible visionary behind the brand: Eunice Johnson.
This must-see 7,000-square-foot exhibit (one of the largest exhibitions the museum has had in its 157-year existence) showcases wares as seen in the Ebony Magazine Fashion Fair shows over the past 50 years. Highlights include gorgeous pieces (around 60, narrowed down from over 3,500 in the Johnson Publishing archive) from greats such as Christian Dior, Pierre Cardin, Oscar de la Renta, Emanuel Ungaro, Yves Saint-Laurent, and more. “My mother often spoke about the importance of African American women feeling beautiful,” said Linda Johnson Rice, chairman, Johnson Publishing Company. “The Ebony Fashion Fair legacy represents an important part of the rich African American cultural experience in America, and I am extremely excited that the Chicago History Museum is bringing my mother’s vision to life.”
To celebrate such an incredible mark in Chicago history, there was an extravagant gala last Friday at the museum. A well-to-do crowd, including Desiree Rogers, Linda Johnson Rice, MK Pritzker, and Hamish Bowles (international editor at large for Vogue) enjoyed cocktails and a private viewing of the exhibition before heading into an elaborately decorated tent for a sit-down dinner and dancing.
While we highly suggest you check out Inspiring Beauty in person (it runs through January 5, 2014), click through to check out a few highlights from the gala and exhibit right now!