In honor of Black History Month, we want to share some of the most dashing Black icons who have left their mark in the fashion world.
Besides being one of the most important musical talents of American history, Diana Ross was the epitome of '70s glamour. From her marabou feathers to memorable jumpsuits and sequins, Ross always knew how to make a statement. She made everyone want to rock her vivacious bouffants and teased out afros. This is why she is one of the most decorated icons.
Before she hit the big screens, Cicely Tyson was a renowned model. As she gained more popularity, her style also began to evolve effortlessly. She was a trailblazer known for breaking barriers and openly celebrating Black beauty by wearing her natural afro and braids, even when that was not necessarily popular.
Beyond being one of the most strikingly beautiful models in history, Iman is an icon who has earned her stripes in the fashion world. Although you may have seen her on the cover of multiple magazines, Iman is also a fashion icon in her right. In 2010, she was honored by the CFDA with The Fashion Icon Award, which alone speaks to her timeless sense of style.
Ever since Grace Jones broke into the entertainment scene, she set a precedent for what it means to be an "IT" girl. It is hard to describe Jones' legacy without using the words "bold," "carefree," and "pioneering." With her striking features and expressive confidence, Jones has become a Blueprint in the fashion world, becoming an enduring inspiration for many artists. She also spearheaded the androgynous style trend in the '80s.
Although you probably know her as one of the most outstanding jazz vocalists of all time and an advocate for social justice, Billie Holiday was known on-stage for her iconic signature look. Her feminine, ever-flowing dresses always complimented the cluster of gardenia flowers in her hair that she became so well known for.
Coretta Scott King
While she may be known as a renowned civil rights activist, Coretta Scott King also proved that she could fight for an important cause while rocking sophisticated coiffed waves and updos. Her vibrant signature red lipstick also unforgettably complimented her outfits.
In 1974, Beverly Johnson became the first Black woman to be a cover girl for Vogue. She was not aware at the time that that cover would spearhead her career and earn her a spot on over 500 more covers throughout her career. Her modeling career and self-confidence pioneered and ushered in a new era for many other Black women who dreamed of being models.
During her time, Josephine Baker exuded elaborate elegance and class. She was a mainstay of the 1920s, and her penchant for nude portraiture made her stand out more. Although she was renowned as one of the most prominent entertainers in Europe, she was even more infamous for her out-of-the-box style enhanced by pencil-thin brows, slicked-back hair, and dark lip color. She defined and embodied the beauty aesthetic of the '20s.
When she became the first Black First Lady, Michelle Obama inspired many Black women and girls worldwide to believe that they could do anything. She also set a precedent for fashion. Although Michelle Obama is well known for her quick wit, intelligence, and gaiety, the sartorial influence she has made on fashion is unparalleled. Her ability to take bold (and well-tailored) fashion risks has ingratiated her to become a fashion heavyweight. From her colorful cardigans to her elegantly coordinated color palette, Michelle Obama has earned her spot on the list as one of the most fashionably iconic Black women of all time.
When we first met Rihanna she instantly made waves in the industry with her blunt bobs, vibrant pixie cuts, and cutting-edge outfits. Not only did her confidence and fearlessness earn her a cult-like following, but it also solidified her as a trendsetter, and in her words, "that Rihanna reign just won't let up." Over the years, Rihanna has inspired millions of women worldwide to emulate her style vicariously. With time, her style has only evolved and sharpened.