On November 28, 1973 the historic fashion show, Battle of Versailles, forever changed the fashion industry. This groundbreaking show helped catapult American designers such as Stephen Burrows and Halston onto the global fashion map and led to them rivaling their French peers such as Yves Saint Laurent and Hubert de Givenchy. Along with the designers, the scene-stealing performances of Black models helped herald a new era within the fashion world.
During this discussion we will be joined by select models who participated in Battle of Versailles to discuss the historic show, how it advanced themes of diversity and inclusivity within the fashion industry, and explore its influence decades later on a new generation of models and designers.
- Jennifer Brice, Battle of Versailles model
- Pat Cleveland, Battle of Versailles model
- Norma Jean Darden, Battle of Versailles model
- Moderator: Souleo, independent curator
The event is guest curated by Souleo.
Jennifer Brice, a pioneering force in fashion, gained prominence in 1972 by winning the Model of the Year Pageant, propelling her into NYC’s fashion scene. Renowned designers like Oscar de la Renta and Stephen Burrows recognized her talent, adorning her in creations by Halston, Valentino, and more. Jennifer made history at the Battle of Versailles runway. Her enduring legacy of breaking barriers and embracing diversity continues to inspire and reshape the fashion landscape. For more information, visit Jennifer’s Instagram: @itsjenniferbrice
Pat Cleveland has been an international top model for over five decades. She has worked for the most prestigious fashion designers such as Halston, Valentino, Stephen Burrows, and Armani. Pat has been seen in fashion publications such as Vogue, Ebony, Women’s Wear Daily, Essence, W Magazine, and Interview. She has also been painted by Salvador Dali and worked with Andy Warhol. Pat has received many awards for her work, and has recently received the Thurgood Marshall Award as a fashion icon. She is also an author, singer, and artist. For more information, visit: houseofvrc.com or Pat’s Instagram: @patcleveland
Norma Jean Darden is a model and entrepreneur. Throughout her modeling career, Darden graced the pages of fashion magazines such as Bazaar, Glamour, Mademoiselle, and Vogue. Darden later opened her first restaurant in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood called Spoonbread, Inc, which specialized in Southern cuisine. In 1997, Darden opened two more restaurants with Miss Mamie’s Spoonbread Too and Miss Maude’s Spoonbread Too restaurants, both in Manhattan. Darden’s restaurants have been featured in publications as diverse as the New York Times, USA Today, Black Enterprise, Essence, and Ebony magazines. For more information: spoonbreadinc.com or Instagram: @missmamiesspoonbreadtoo Source: TheHistoryMakers.org.
Souleo has been hailed as an “Icon of Harlem” (Ruth Millington, art historian and author of Muse) and “Harlem’s Heart and Soul” (NY Daily News). An acclaimed creative, curator, impresario, consultant, and muse, he seamlessly merges the worlds of art, fashion, literature, media, and music to document and amplify the stories of the emerging and underrepresented via exhibitions, events, and writing. For more information: souleouniverse.com
This is a free, online event.