Style Icon: Eunice W. Johnson

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The year was 1958, the visionary was Eunice Walker Johnson, the vehicle was the Ebony Fashion Fair show, and the mission was to empower African Americans with the opportunity of experiencing fashion through the eyes of Eunice Johnson. The Ebony Fashion Fair show became the longest traveling fashion show for over 50 years. Featuring fashion designers like Yves Saint-Laurent, Oscar de la Renta, Balmain, Givenchy, B Michael and Patrick Kelly on the catwalk, and gracing the pages of Ebony magazine.

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In honor of Eunice Johnson and her barrier breaking vision, the Chicago History Museum presents Inspiring Beauty: 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair, a story of vision, innovation and power told through the history of Eunice Johnson. Now, running through May 11, 2014, this 7,000-square-foot exhibition full of beautiful pieces, information videos and a welcoming greeting from former fashion show commentator, Audrey Smaltz.

image“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.”

With her ambition, courageous gumption and impeccable taste in fashion, Eunice Johnson’s hard work didn’t go unnoticed.

The exhibition is beyond amazing, I had the lovely opportunity of viewing the vision of Eunice Johnson and I must say … I was blown away!


If you’re a Chicagoan or traveling to Chicago soon, this exhibition is one for the entire family, my $14 was well spent. So, I must say in celebration of the life of Mrs. Eunice Johnson, the Johnson Publishing Company and the Chicago History Museum – Thank You for sharing such archival gems to the public – it was astounding!

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For more information about the Inspiring Beauty: 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair exhibition, please click here.

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