We talk about how much we love certain models all the time on The Black Market, but there are a scarce few that we were as obsessed with as Guinean/French model Katoucha Niane. One of THE supermodels of the 80’s, Niane was muse to Yves Saint Laurent and had one of the most breathtakingly gorgeous faces (and bodies) to ever grace a runway or magazine. Her shocking death in 2008 by accidental drowning was deeply heartbreaking to those who followed her career. Here are some of our favorite images of her as well as a silent video tribute to her.
We love, love our cadre of fashionphile friends! One of them just sent us this amazing little video clip of Yves Saint Laurent, talking about his affinity for black models. We had to share it. As you most likely already know, YSL was the first of the major couturiers to have black models walk in his shows and presentations. The legacy that Saint Laurent leaves behind is long and deep, but it is in this area that has cemented his place in our hearts.
When we were 16, we were knee-deep in the trials and tribulations of American high school life: friend/frenemy drama, making fun of prom and crushing on a new boy every other week. For model Nyasha Matonhodze, her sweet 16th year has been decidedly more glamorous. The teen newcomer has just landed the cover of Love Magazine’s #16 issue in the exact sort of dark, gothic fashion imagery that we love. The Zimbabwean model made her runway debut at the Louis Gray SS10 show and can be now be seen in the FW11 Louis Vuitton ad campaign. We are obsessed with her gorgeous skin and cannot wait to see more of her on the runways come September.
Some models are a complete product of their time and embody the cultural vibe in the air in the most perfect way. Supermodel Donyale Luna was all of that and more. The first black model to cover Vogue, she was the 60’s. Her never-ending limbs made her body the ideal vehicle for the most futuristic designers of the moment, like Paco Rabanne and Pierre Cardin. Luna appeared in movies by Andy Warhol and Fellini and on runways all over Europe. Tragically, Luna battled drug problems and died in Rome in 1979 of an accidental overdose, leaving behind a presence in the fashion industry that still fascinates and intrigues us. We found this video tribute to Luna, featuring many of her most famous images and capturing her all-around gorgeousness.
We spent part of the long holiday weekend pouring over vintage fashion magazines and were reminded of how much we loved (and miss) model Karen Alexander, she of the insanely beautiful bone structure and perfect pout. Alexander was one of THE models of the 80’s, black or otherwise, and her face has graced the covers of just about all of the major fashion magazines. She was one of the first models of color to be featured in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. The New Jersey-born model was also highlighted in People Magazine’s very first 50 Most Beautiful People issue, being photographed while 4 months pregnant. We also love how she is BFF’s with another of our favorite 80’s models, Elaine Irwin, the soon-to-be ex of singer John Mellencamp. Below are some of our favorite images from Alexander’s career.
We spend an almost embarassing amount of time stalking YouTube for vintage videos having anything to do with fashion. We just unearthed this amazing little clip that spotlights one of our favorite supermodels, Pat Cleveland, who along with model Alva Chinn, was a muse to designers Stephen Burrows and Halston. Watching this makes us a bit wistful for the runways of the late 70’s and 80’s when models were actually encouraged to have a personality. Cleveland’s signature walk is on full display here and we are seriously loving the brief clip of Ms. Cleveland with Halston himself, spritzing on some of his namesake cologne. Enjoy and Happy Memorial Day to all of our U.S. readers!