Black Dress commemorates and celebrates the contributions of contemporary fashion designers, models, make-up artists, hair stylists, writers, style makers and pioneers. Black Dress allows communities to experience the innovative artistry of Black designers, whose brilliance has played a substantial part in the development of one of the world’s largest industries.
Historically, black fashion was rooted in the tailors and dressmakers who often created the finest gowns and suits for politicians, members of high society, and the like. Only a few of these pioneers received recognition, such as Elizabeth Keckley, dressmaker to Mary Todd Lincoln; fashion designer/costumer Zelda Wynn Valdes, who designed the iconic Playboy Bunny outfit and dresses for actresses like Dorothy Dandridge, Marlene Dietrich, and Mae West; and Ann Lowe, who designed the wedding dress for Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy.
The Black Dress exhibit allows communities to experience the innovative artistry of Black designers, whose brilliance has played a substantial part in the development of one of the world’s largest industries. The exhibit not only exhibits the designers creativity – but it provokes awareness on their triumphs and accomplishments as working professionals in the fashion industry. This exhibit will provide a forum for conversations between those that have cultural similarities and experiences and those with an appreciation for this art form.
In order to give the visitor an abstract fashion experience, Black Dress is highlighted by a sizzling, fashion-forward video presentation, directed and produces by famed MacArthur Fellow (2013), photographer and video artist, Carrie Mae Weems. Celebrity stylist, Ty-Ron Mayes worked alongside Ms. Weems to create the looks for the fashion video.
The Black Dress team consists of creator/curator, Adrienne Jones, executive assistant, Rachelle Etienne-Robinson, fashion consultant, Walter Greene and exhibition designers, Blumlein Associates, Inc.