D-204. Designed by James Daugherty, American. Ca. 1977-1980. Gift of Joan Needham, 1994

This dress of red crepe polyester, circa 1977-1980, has an air of elegance that evokes the sophistication of gowns of the Fifties and early Sixties while still remaining contemporary. It was designed by James Daugherty. Daugherty was an African-American fashion designer based in New York. His fashions were featured often in Ebony and Jet magazines. Eunice Walker Johnson, co-founder and publisher of Ebony and Jet, founded the Ebony Fashion Fair in 1956. The Fashion Fair was an annual traveling fashion show held as a fundraiser to benefit charities. It used only African American models wearing haute couture clothing from many of the great American and European designers. Walker was the first African American to import designer clothing from Europe. The last Fashion Fair was scheduled for 2009 but was abruptly cancelled due to the poor economy. Walker died in 2010 at the age of 93.