The word iconic is thrown around so much these days, but the Minnesota History Museum is offering you a chance to see the real deal.
Opening May 23, “Inspiring Beauty: 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair” is an exhibition of five decades of the biggest-named designers in the fashion business, whose creations were modeled by artists of mainly African American descent, all of them featured in the annual, epic, and now sadly gone Ebony Fashion Fair.
The fair, which is closely linked to the name of the late Eunice Johnson, the event’s director and producer (and whose death ended the 50-year tradition), was big on fashion, big on pushing boundaries, and big on giving to charity. And, it only takes a cursory glance through the names of the designers whose work is once again being shown off to realize how iconic the fair truly was.
Bob Mackie, Vivienne Westwood, Yves Saint Laurent, Pierre Cardin, and Todd Oldham are only some of the names tagged in the ensembles on display, and you can even order a companion book, also entitled “Inspiring Beauty,” with more than 60 stunning images, as well as a trio of “provocative” essays.
The entire exhibition is now on tour, and since there are only so many stops it can make, the Twin Cities is lucky enough to be on the list. It’s an interwoven fabric of empowerment, glamour, and highly-stylized beauty.
There’s admission to the museum if you’re not under the age of 5 or already a member, of course, but they’ll do their best to make your visit a pleasant one. This note is attached: “Visiting in May or early June on a weekday? Consider planning your visit for after 2 p.m. if you prefer a quieter experience. We’re thrilled to have nearly 1,000 excited school children visiting between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on most days, but we know it can be a little too noisy for some folks!”
So, now you even know what timeframe you’re aiming for.
Besides, how often do you get to see a real Christian Lacroix in the same room with you?
If you go
What: “Inspiring Beauty: 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair”
When: May 23 through Aug. 16. Hours: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays, noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. Closed Mondays.
Where: Minnesota History Center, 345 Kellogg Blvd. W., St. Paul.
Tickets: $11 adults, $9 seniors and college students, $6 children ages 6-17, free for children 5 and under, and for Minnesota Historical Society members. Admission free after 5 p.m. Tuesdays.
Information: 651-259-3000, mnhs.org.