Spreading Knowledge

Spreading knowledge amongst the women of the world.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Black History Fashion: Zelda Wynn Valdes

Playboy Bunny Costume Designer

Happy Valentine's Day Loves! I hope you are spreading love and cheer to friends, family, your significant other, or all the above! This week for Black History, I talked about former model turned agent Ophelia DeVore. To continue on about African American agents and designers, this post is dedicated to fashion designer and costumer Zelda Wynn Valdes!
Photo Credit
Zelda Wynn Valdes (or Zelda Barbour Wynn Valdes) was born on June 28 in 1905 in Pennsylvania. During the late forties, Wynn's sexy, hip-hugging gowns were worn by many famous celebrities such as Dorothy Dandridge, Josephine Baker, Ella Fitzgerald, and Gladys Knight. She also designed for major figures like Mae West and Marlene Dietrich. Because of Zelda's influence, actress/singer, Joyce Bryant had adapted to wearing skin-tight gowns, causing her career to take off in the 50's
Photo Credit|| Dorothy Dandridge
Photo Credit|| Joyce Bryant

In 1948, Wynn opened her own boutique in Manhattan (now Washington Heights on Broadway and West 158th Street). Her boutique, "Chez Zelda," made her the first African American to own a store on the streets of New York City. In 1949, Wynn became the president of the New York chapter of the National Association of Fashion and Accessory Designers (NAFAD), which was an organization of black designers founded by Mary McLeod Bethune.

Wynn had also designed the costumes for Arthur Mitchell's Dance Theatre of Harlem in 1970, and around the 1960's, she designed the iconic Playboy Bunny costumes.
Photo Credit|| Hugh Hefner and his Playboy Bunnies on the cover of LIFE
Photo Credit|| Zelda Wynn worked with the Dance Theatre of Harlem for nearly thirty years, becoming the company's Matriarch.
Wynn had stayed with the dance company until 2001, the year she died at the age of 96. Her designs and influence showed that women shouldn't hide their figures, but embrace them!

Embrace Your Curves

Embrace Your Curves
Photo Credit|| Bustier, Maxi Skirt, Booties, Clutch, Multichain Necklace
Plunging necklines; hip hugging fabric; all the essentials a woman needed! Get the iconic look when you pair a plunging neckline bustier with a wrapped maxi skirt. Complete the look with ankle booties and a stylish clutch. Now, with so much bare neck, don't be afraid to accessorize. Try a multichain necklace that resembles the halter straps on Joyce's gown.

Little Cottontail

Given Halloween was four months ago, dressing up as a Playboy Bunny would be a little ridiculous at the moment. However, who said you can't still channel that look for the up coming spring season (or "Rabbit Season!") So, get the look by pair a bustier with high waist shorts. Bunny stockings are adorable when paired with gold flats. And though it may seem warm, keep covered up with a leather jacket.

That's all for now, loves! Happy V-Day!
~~ReneA P.

No comments:

Post a Comment