Zac Posen exhibits at New York Fashion Week with an all black model cast, in his A/W16 collection that was inspired by Princess Elizabeth of Toro, Elizabeth Bagaaya-Nyabongo. To be technical/polically correct, in a non white model cast.
A BIT OF HISTORY BEHIND ELIZABETH
The lady was Born in 1936 to an ancient royal lineage in the kingdom of Toro, now part of Uganda. She was the first female from East Africa to be admitted to the English bar, and ultimately the first black female attorney in East Central Africa.
She then began a career as a model in 1962. In the late 1960s, she became the first black woman to get a spread in Vogue magazine. She later returned to Uganda to become minister of foreign affairs under Idi Amin. This is also the main reason why Aamito Stacy (Africa’s Next Top Model) from Uganda closed the show.
It was questionable whether this was the main reason behind his all black models cast, or if it was inspired by the racial controversy in the New York fashion world or America as a whole.
However this question was answered when he took to instragram to post a picture of himself Posen (lol) with a bag that had “Black models matter” written on it.
Diversity on the runway has always been a major controversy in the fashion capitals. I do not necessarily have a stance on this because in another sense it’s hard to justify what is racist when it comes to art, unless it is something outspoken with a message.
However Runway shows in particular tend to be largely white affairs, even when designers happily draw the inspiration for their designs from African cultures.
In his show notes Posen mentions Elizabeth’s “kind nature, stunning appearance and exceptional intellect”. He told Fashion Week Daily that the new collection was about “representing intelligent women that aren’t only represented by an overt sexuality.”
So the questions is was Posen’s act justified? Would having an all black cast create the message that will have an impact on the industry? Or is it the impact of previous messages?
Whichever way, many of the black models that participated seemed to be very proud judging by the instagram pages. It must be very embarrassing standing shoulder to shoulder with your European counter part models discussing who is doing what, and they can tell you they are participating in over 40 showed when you can only speak of 5 or 6.
With that said See Zac Posen’s show below.
Images Source: fashionweekdaily.com
Featured Image Source: Getty Images