Why You Need to See NCMA’s Newest Exhibit
The North Carolina Museum of Art is one of my favorite places to visit in Raleigh! I can spend hours exploring NCMA’s grounds and various buildings. The Museum offers a unique experience, carrying numerous forms of art -contemporary, African, northern European, etc. Their collection is always expanding and changing.
When I was invited to a preview of their newest exhibit, Inspiring Beauty: 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair, I jumped at the opportunity! Inspiring Beauty tells the remarkable story of the extraordinary Ebony fashion fair. The exhibit explores the 50-year history of the Ebony Fashion Fair and features 40 stunning ensembles.
The exhibit will be open from October 28th, 2017 to January 21st. It is a must see!
The Ebony Fashion Fair was an unparalleled charity fashion show that spanned from 1958 to 2009. The fashion show grew out of the pages of Ebony magazine and was far more than just a display of fabulous clothes. The fair featured ensembles by designers such as Alexander McQueen, Christian Dior, Givenchy, Yves Saint Laurent, and much more!
The magazine and show were founded by Eunice Johnson, who owned Johnson Publishing Company with her husband, John Johnson. Eunice Johnson loved fashion, but Ebony meant a lot more to her than that! Johnson transformed fashion and helped redefine concepts of beauty. It’s inspiring to see how much of her own time and money she invested into a company she believed in and worked hard for.
What began as a small charity fashion show for a New Orleans hospital became a traveling extravaganza and fundraising force.
This Tilmann Grawe Cocktail Dress was one of the most interesting ensembles! Instead of a fabric, the dress was made from plastic tubing and glass beads. On the runway, the dress would bounce with every move —highlighting that the Ebony Fashion Fair was a performance of sorts.
Inspiring Beauty features not only some of the most iconic fashion ensembles shown during the Ebony Fashion Fair, but also explores the impact the show had on African American identity, style, and success. Eunice Johnson and Ebony was a true agent of change. The show raised tens of millions of dollars for numerous African American charities, provide positive images for black men and women and launched the careers of many.
Eunice Johnson pushed the boundaries of the fashion world. She chose bold ensembles that empowered women, highlighted the shape of numerous body types, and were innovate for the time. The show challenged conventions of beauty and made high fashion accessible to a broader audience.
This stunning exhibit opens your eyes to fashion and the truth that, it is in fact, an art form.
My favorite dress was this Italian lace evening dress by Sarli. The dress hugs and caresses every curve of the female body which is absolutely beautiful! It appeared in the 2008 show, as one of the last most extravagant ensembles of the night.
The exhibition also includes archival photographs and memorabilia from Ebony magazine and Ebony Fashion Fair.
You can check out the Inspiring Beauty collection now until January 21st. Learn more about the North Carolina Museum of History here.
Which ensemble is YOUR favorite?