Best remembered as founder of Ebony, the late Eunice Johnson was a style icon, a savvy publishing magnate and a woman whose charisma swayed the world of haute couture toward integration. This February during Black History Month, her pet project, The Ebony Fashion Fair — a traveling fashion showcase for charity — returns to New Orleans, where it began.
Founded in 1956 to raise money for the Women's Auxiliary of Flint-Goodrich hospital, the Ebony Fashion Fair took to the road soon after its initial success, partnering with charities across the nation. This year, Macy's (Lakeside Shopping Center, 3301 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 484-4600; www.macys.com) teams with Johnson Publishing Company to pay tribute to Johnson's continued influence on the fashion and beauty industries and the community of African-American women she supported.
The showcase's couture designs by Givenchy, Vivienne Westwood, Halston, Thierry Mugler and others are from Johnson's own closet and span several decades. Fashion Fair Cosmetics, a brand Johnson created for African-American women after she discovered dark-skinned models mixing their own pigments backstage at runway shows, offers free samples of the limited-edition lipstick For the Love of Color.
The exhibit kicks off with a VIP cocktail party Thursday, Feb. 17, at 6 p.m. Johnson Publishing Company chairwoman Linda Johnson Rice, and CEO Desiree Rogers and Ebony magazine editor-in-chief Amy Barnett unveil the retrospective. To register for the cocktail party, visit www.macys.com/events. — Carrie Marks