By Danielle Braff
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Robin Givhan, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post fashion critic talks about her new book, “The Battle of Versailles,” which focuses on a 1973 fashion show in Versailles, France, that included five American designers and 10 black models. When 10 out of the 36 models were black, it was the first time there had been so many black models on a runway at one time. A pivotal point for American fashion.
Robin Givhan, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post fashion critic, was all business as she spoke to a crowd of fashion enthusiasts recently during the Chicago Humanities Festival.
Fashion is always deeper than clothing, said Givhan, perched on a chair dressed in a dark sleeveless dress and conservative strappy black shoes by Dries Van Noten (a Belgian designer who happened to create shoes with red bottoms a la Christian Louboutin), her hair pulled back into a messy bun that was falling into a ponytail.
Givhan’s talk was focused on her new book, “The Battle of Versailles,” but she touched on everything from the lack of racial diversity in the fashion world to politics because, well, how could she not?
She started by assuring the crowd of her admirers, most of whom were clad in black glasses that echoed her own, that she had no political ties.
But, “So many politicians have used their clothes as a kind of costume for the story they want their administration to tell,” Givhan said. “There is a small part of me that hopes that we will have a first gentleman, so I can call and ask, ‘Who made your tuxedo?'”
The answer probably would be someone with white skin, seeing that there are so few fashion designers at the moment who are not white, she said.