A Pierre Cardin dress from Eunice W. Johnson's personal collection. (Johnson Publishing Co. )
Perhaps no single individual in the last half-century has promoted and showcased African American beauty and fashion with as much flair as Eunice W. Johnson.
The co-founder with her husband John H. Johnson of pioneering magazine Ebony in 1945, she was one of the first to market a cosmetics line, Fashion Fair Cosmetics, to African Americans, . And, most famously, she created the Ebony Fashion Fair — a traveling fashion runway show that's raised more than $55 million for various charities since its inception in 1958.
The traveling show was the first major fashion event to be geared to African Americans, coming at a time when civil rights issues were at the forefront of American culture and politics.
Johnson, a glamorous fashion plate herself, chose looks from the world's best-known fashion houses, including Christian Dior, Stephen Burrows, Jeanne Lanvin, Yves Saint Laurent and Valentino.
Now in conjunction with Macy's department stores, Johnson Publishing, the owner of Ebony magazine, is staging "For the Love of Color," a retrospective fashion exhibit honoring Johnson by showcasing looks from her personal collection that also appeared in Ebony Fashion Fair runway shows.
"Eunice W. Johnson was always a woman ahead of her time," said Desiree Rogers, chief executive of Johnson Publishing and former White House social secretary. "Her contributions to the world of fashion and design transcended color lines. … She was a leader in showcasing new and cutting-edge talent on the runways of Ebony Fashion Fair, by including African American, Italian and French designers."
Sixteen looks will be on display at the exhibit, spanning more than four decades and representing storied houses including Pierre Cardin, Marc Bouwer, Renato Balestra and Vivienne Westwood.
Tuesday through Feb. 28. Macy's Beverly Center, Level 2, 8500 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles. 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
Junko Yoshioka bridal trunk show Thursday through Saturday: Check out the spring 2011 collection of bridal dresses from New York's Junko Yoshioka, which range from the sweepingly romantic to the short and swingy.
The Bridal Salon at Saks Fifth Avenue, 9634 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills. (310) 887-5509. By appointment only.
Breathe LA charity fashion show Thursday: Nonprofit organization Breathe LA — which supports programs that promote clean air and healthy lungs in L.A. County — hosts a fashion runway show, Attire to Inspire, including sample sales from some of its participating designers, which include Eva Franco and Sanaz Afsar. "Project Runway" alumnus Nick Verreos is scheduled to MC the event.
Siren Studios, 6063 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles. Tickets start at $125 and are available by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. 6:30 p.m.
St. John Concept Shop through March 31: Southern California fashion brand St. John's pop-up shop inside a gallery-esque storefront on Melrose Place showcases a hand-picked collection of creative director George Sharp's favorite pieces from the brand's spring, pre-fall and fall collections. Merchandise ranges from $395 to $2,495.
8459 Melrose Place, Los Angeles. (323) 951-9927. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.