Tribute to the Models of Versailles 1973

Imagine, a fashion show starring all the hottest black models of the moment, at Paris' Palace du Versailles no less, before an audience of movie stars, royals, and jetsetters. No, it's not some glittering fashion fantasy...it actually happened, back in 1973! To drum up publicity for the crumbling palace, the top French and American designers staged a fashion face-off--with the American designers only black models. Models like Pat Cleveland, Alva Chinn, Bethanne Hardison twirled and boogied down the catwalk to R&B tunes in front of Jackie Kennedy, Princess Grace, and Liza Minella (who performed at the show). A roaring standing ovation ensued, Black models became suddenly, widly chic, and fashion history was made. On Monday, a private, star-studded luncheon was held to pay tribute to the ten women of color who made history at the Grand Divertissement à Versailles--including legendary catwalk queens Bethanne Hardison, Alva Chinn and Pat Cleveland. Here, some of the most memorable moments of the star-studded afternoon.