Black History Fashion Moment- First Black Supermodel
Donyale Luna is the model that history has forgotten, she is the world's first black supermodel. She was a trendsetter, leading the way for black women in the modeling industry. Luna was the first black woman in the world to appear on the cover of a major fashion magazine.
Discovered by the legendary photographer David McCabe Luna traveled around the world breaking stereotypes. David McCabe knew he found something special when he first saw Luna in Detroit.
"I was on a photo assignment in Detroit, photographing Ford cars [and] there was a school nearby,” he recalled. “I was struck by this almost 6-foot-tall beautiful girl – around 14-years-old at the time – wearing her Catholic uniform."
The New York Times called Luna “a stunning Negro model whose face had the hauteur and feline grace of Nefertiti.” A sketch of her appeared on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar in January 1965, and in 1966 she would grace the cover of British Vogue. Making her the first black woman on the cover of both magazines.
On the cover, Luna is covering most of her face; this was allegedly a request from the Vogue editors to conceal Luna's ethnicity.
In 1966 Life magazine wrote an article titled “The Luna Year,” and raved about the young supermodel.
“A new heavenly body who, because of her striking singularity, promises to remain on high for many a season. Donyale Luna, as she calls herself, is unquestionably the hottest model in Europe at the moment. She is only 20, a Negro, hails from Detroit, and is not to be missed if one reads Harper’s Bazaar, Paris Match, Britain’s Queen, the British, French or American editions of Vogue.”
Beverly Johnson is considered to be the first black supermodel after being on the American cover of Vogue in the 70s, but let us not forget Donyale Luna's contributions to fashion.