If you weren’t able to snag any of Eunice Johnson’s extraordinary collection of designer clothes and accessories during the first-ever EBONY Fashion Fair auction last year, you’ll still have a chance to marvel at the fabulous threads thanks to an upcoming exhibition at the Chicago History Museum.
The exhibition, which is set to debut in March 2013, will highlight some of the nearly 7,000 pieces of designer goods that Eunice, the late wife of John H. Johnson, the founder of the Johnson Publishing Company, amassed over 50 years for her personal collection and the EBONY Fashion Fair.
Her sharp eye and success in bringing high fashion to the black community via Ebony’s Fashion Fair aka “The World’s Largest Traveling Fashion Show” made her an industry pioneer and style icon.
“Anybody would be bowled over by what Mrs. Johnson was able to collect in her lifetime,” Joy Bivins, the Chicago History Museum curator of the coming exhibition, told the WSJ.
Having handpicked every single piece from the impressive collection full of Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior, Stephen Burrows, Carolina Herrera and Oscar de la Renta designs–just to name a few–Eunice is said to have spent $1.5 million a year at times for her designer goods. Now that’s what you call a shopping spree!
The upcoming show will include rarities like Yves Saint Laurent’s “Picasso” dress, a gown designed by Alexander McQueen during his time as Givenchy’s creative director and a few Paco Rabanne hot-pant ensembles made of plastic discs.
Although the Fashion Fair show has been on hiatus since 2010 after Eunice’s passing, the next generation of fashion fans won’t have to wait long for the legendary show’s return. Desiree Rogers, CEO of the Johnson Publishing Company and former White House Social Secretary plans on revamping the show and relaunching it in the next year.
Until then, we’re excited to know that Eunice’s impressive collection will be displayed for all to see.
Eunice Johnson, began traveling the fashion capitals of the world in the early 1950s to find designers to use in her Broadway-patterned fashion shows. The result was the Ebony Fashion Fair, which traveled to 170 cities per year and eventually raised more than $55 million for various African-American charities.
“My mother was ahead of her time in terms of a black woman traveling and buying couture fashion from all over the world. That’s history that should be preserved and shared with as many people as possible.’’
Sources: Huffington Post, Allison Samuels / The Daily Beast