An epic 60 years chronicling the queens of the catwalk.
1950, Dorothea Towles
Born in Texarcana in 1922, gorgeous Dorothea Towles was the first top Black model to work in Paris. As a teen, she modeled exclusively for Black magazines Stateside—but during a two-month vacation to Paris in 1949, she was discovered by Christian Dior, and embarked on a wildly successful career as one of the most celebrated models in Europe. During her career, she was a favorite of designers like Pierre Balmain and Elsa Schaperelli. In 1954, she returned home and began organizing fashion shows at Black colleges, showing her own couture line. Fifty years later, Towles reminisced on her time as the toast of Paris, telling WWD, “For once I was not considered Black, African-American or Negro. I was just an American.”