Opinions & Features November 28, 2019 at 05:00 pm

They designed gowns for senators, these black females were remarkable fashion designers in the 1900s

Theodora Aidoo | Staff Writer

Theodora Aidoo November 28, 2019 at 05:00 pm

November 28, 2019 at 05:00 pm | Opinions & Features

Image result for Zelda Wynn Valdes
Pic Credit: Ebony Magazine

Zelda Wynn Valdes

Zelda Wynn Valdes was a designer to the stars who could fit a dress to a body of any size even if she had to do so just by looking at the client, according to the New York Times.

Born in 1905, in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, Valdes was considered the first African American fashion designer.

She began her career at her uncle’s tailoring shop in White Plains, New York. She received credit for designing the Playboy Bunny costume in the 1950s.

New York Playboy Club bunnies aboard USS Wainwright – Pic Credit: Wikimedia Commons

She also worked with notable actresses like Dorothy Dandridge, Ella Fitzgerald, Joyce Bryant, and Mae West. She was responsible for dressing the entire bridal party for the 1948 wedding of Marie Ellington and Nat “King” Cole.

In 1948, she became the first Black woman to own a shop on Broadway in New York City. She named it Chez Zelda. Valdes was also named the New York chapter president of the National Association of Fashion and Accessory Designers. She died aged 96 in 2001.


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