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Eunice Walker Johnson is a Chicago legend: The woman who gave Ebony magazine its name also hobnobbed with presidents, lived in a glam Lake Shore Drive apartment, wore stunning designer clothes and raised $50 million for charity with her pet project, the traveling show known as the Ebony Fashion Fair.
?Inspiring Beauty: 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair,? an exhibit that opens this week at the Chicago History Museum, honors Johnson?s vision and the event?s epic, 200-city run.
Johnson had all the angles figured out. Not only did the Fashion Fair give Ebony a way to meet its readership, it also put African-American models on the runway and championed up-and-coming black designers, showcasing their clothes alongside names like Givenchy, Valentino and Dior.
The exhibit is set up in sections: First you?ll see three iconic dresses displayed on a red carpet, then you?ll find 60 more garments in areas titled ?Vision,? ?Innovation? and ?Power.?
The museum is billing ?Inspiring Beauty? as one of its most important exhibits in 157 years, and we agree: Nothing makes us happier than watching good clothes break down social barriers.
Chicago History Museum, 1601 N. Clark St.; 312-642-4600 or chicagohistory.org
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