Black History Fashion: The Battle of Versailles

In 1973 there was a thing, it was called The Battle of Versailles. At least that was the street name. Really, it was a benefit and fundraiser that turned into a runway battle between American fashion designers and French ateliers. Guess what, the Americans won. But what was most astonishing about this event is the all-black model casting. Black models including: Bethann Hardison and Pat Cleveland took to the runway and walked against Parisian models with flouncing, draping, and color. It was Bill Blass, Stephen Burrows, and Halston who were on Team USA (isn’t that a hashtag). Saint Laurent and Hubert de Givenchy were among the French team.


If you really want to know what happened, the good, the bad, and the ugly, be sure to read Robin Givhan’s book, The Battle of Versailles: The Night American Fashion Stumbled into the Spotlight and Made History available for purchase today on Amazon.