She called her store, Chez Zelda. Funny how it’s a white country – 200 years of white supremacy’, White couple Lost Their Jobs After Verbally Abusing Black Lyft Driver, Driver Diagnosed with COVID-19 A Week After The Incident, Burt’s Bees Apologizes for Ad Depicting Only Black Family with a Single Parent, http://fashionsizzle.com/2013/02/zelda-wynn-valdes-first-black-designer-and-costumer-to-open-her-own-shop/, http://dumpling-designs.com/history/zelda-wynn-valdes-african-american-fashion-pioneer/, https://blog.oup.com/2015/03/costume-designer-zelda-wynn-valdes/, Lisa Alexander Apologizes For Calling Police On Man Who Wrote ‘Black Lives Matter’ On A Wall In Front Of His Home, 10 Unsung Black Leaders That History Rarely Celebrates, History You Probably Don’t Know: Jay Jaxon Was The First American to Lead a French Couture House, Letitia James: First African-American Woman Attorney General of the state of New York. African American History: Research Guides & Websites, Global African History: Research Guides & Websites, African Americans and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, The Alma Stephenson Dever Page on Afro-britons, With Pride: Uplifting LGBTQ History On Blackpast, Preserving Martin Luther King County’s African American History, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Envoys, Diplomatic Ministers, & Ambassadors, African American Newspapers, Magazines, and Journals, http://fashionsizzle.com/2013/02/zelda-wynn-valdes-first-black-designer-and-costumer-to-open-her-own-shop/, http://dumpling-designs.com/history/zelda-wynn-valdes-african-american-fashion-pioneer/, https://blog.oup.com/2015/03/costume-designer-zelda-wynn-valdes/. Chandler. Zelda Wynn Valdes was a designer to the stars who could fit a dress to a body of any size — even if she had to do so just by looking at the client. Originally, the Valdes design had the ears taller and the ensemble lacked the trademark bow tie, collar, and cuffs. Valdes’s boutique soon attracted various celebrities and society women. Her designs have been worn by famous entertainers such as Dorothy Dandridge, Josephine Baker, Marian Anderson, Josephine Baker, Ella Fitzgerald, Mae West, … Zelda Barbour Wynn Valdes was an influential fashion designer perhaps best known for helping to create the iconic Playboy Bunny costume. She got her start by watching her grandmother work and eventually working for her uncle’s tailoring business. The design originally had the ears taller and the ensemble lacked the trademark bow tie, collar, and cuffs. She would later move the store to midtown Manhattan on 57th Street. BlackPast.org is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization. “Zelda Barbour Wynn Valdes,” Fashion Sizzle, http://fashionsizzle.com/2013/02/zelda-wynn-valdes-first-black-designer-and-costumer-to-open-her-own-shop/; “Zelda Barbour Wynn Valdes,” Dumpling Designs, http://dumpling-designs.com/history/zelda-wynn-valdes-african-american-fashion-pioneer/; “Zelda Barbour Wynn Valdes,” OUP blog, https://blog.oup.com/2015/03/costume-designer-zelda-wynn-valdes/. Valdes started working as a stock girl at a high-end boutique around 1920 and worked her way up to be the store’s first Black sales clerk and tailor. Zelda Wynn Valdes, born in Pennsylvania, was the first African-American fashion and costume designer to open up a shop on Broadway in New York City, NY. She eventually worked her way up to selling and making alterations, becoming the shop's first black sales clerk and tailor. Zelda Wynn Valdés would become a well-known fashion designer and costumer who made outfits for leading performers through the decades, including Josephine Baker, Joyce … The Black Detour is a independent media outlet that advocates for Black people to not only be empowered, but informed on issues in the Black community. Zelda Barbour Wynn Valdes was an African American fashion and costume designer. Subscribe To The Black Detour For The Latest In Black News, History & Culture, Subscribe For The Latest In Black News & History, Arkansas homeowner receives letter telling him to take his Black Santa down and move out the neighborhood, Michigan Man Currently Serving 60-Year Sentence In Marijuana Case Seeks Clemency, Black Woman Records Neighbor Making Racist Rants About Asians: ‘Go live in Asia. In 1949 Valdes was elected president of the New York Chapter of the National Association of Fashion and Accessory Designers (NAFAD), an organization of black designers that was founded by educator and political activist Mary McLeod Bethune. Valdes’s boutique soon attracted numerous celebrities and society women. She studied her grandmother’s work as a seamstress and also worked in her uncle’s tailoring shop. She would later move Chez Zelda to midtown Manhattan, setting up shop on 57th Street. Around the same time, Valdes began working as a stock girl at a high-end boutique. Zelda Wynn Valdes was a fashion legend who was the first African-American designer to open her own shop on Broadway in New York in 1948. In 1970 Arthur Mitchell asked Valdes to design costumes for his new company, the Dance Theater of Harlem. Zelda Valdes was born on June 28, 1905, in Chambersburg,Pennsylvania. Valdes was the first black designer to open her own shop, which was the first black-owned business on Broadway in New York City, New York in 1948. Valdes’s fashion designs were responsible for creating a new sexier image for singer Joyce Bryant who was a huge star in the African American community in the early 1950s and whom Life Magazine later described as the “the Black Marilyn Monroe.” In 1958 Playboy Magazine founder Hugh Hefner hired Valdes to design the first Playboy Bunny costumes. In 1948 at the age of forty-seven, Valdes opened the first African American owned boutique in Manhattan on Broadway and West 158th Street with her sister, Mary Barbour, who worked as her assistant. In 1949 Valdes was elected president of the New York Chapter of the National Association of Fashion and Accessory Designers (NAFAD), an organization of black designers that was founded by educator and activist Mary McLeod Bethune. Hefner commissioned Valdes to do this work on the recommendation of the magazine’s promotion director, Victor Lownes. She is most famous for designing the original costumes for the Playboy Bunnies and the Dance Theater of Harlem. “I only fit her once in 12 years,” Valdes told T he New York Times in 1994 of her long-time client Ella Fitzgerald, “I had to do everything by imagination for her.” Valdes began working as a stock girl at a high-end boutique around 1920 and worked her way up to become the boutique’s first black sales clerk and tailor. Zelda Wynn Valdes was a designer to the stars who could fit a dress to a body of any size — even if she had to do so just by looking at the client. Valdes’s celebrity clients included Josephine Baker, Mae West, Ella Fitzgerald, Dorothy Dandridge, Eartha Kitt, and Marian Anderson. First unveiled publicly in an early episode of Playboy’s Penthouse Magazine, the bunny costume made its formal debut at the opening of the first Playboy Club in Chicago, Illinois on the evening of February 29, 1960. She was also the first Black person to open a store on Broadway in New York City, and designed clothing for some of the top stars of the ’40’s and ’50s. A small donation would help us keep this accessible to all. Forego a bottle of soda and donate its cost to us for the information you just learned, and feel good about helping to make it available to everyone! Zelda Valdes grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina, but was born Zelda Christian Barbour in Chambersburg, PA. She trained as a classical pianist at the Catholic Conservatory of Music. In 1970 Arthur Mitchell asked Valdes to design costumes for his new company, the Dance Theater of Harlem. In “Zelda Valdés: The Cuban Woman who Dressed Hollywood,” Carlos Ferrera Torres writes about Valdés, whose parents (Cuban father, José Valdés and Arican-American mother, Ann Barbour) met in Havana in 1902. In the early 1920s, Valdes started to work in the tailoring shop of her uncle in White Plains, New York. “Zelda Barbour Wynn Valdes,” Fashion Sizzle, http://fashionsizzle.com/2013/02/zelda-wynn-valdes-first-black-designer-and-costumer-to-open-her-own-shop/; “Zelda Barbour Wynn Valdes,” Dumpling Designs, http://dumpling-designs.com/history/zelda-wynn-valdes-african-american-fashion-pioneer/; “Zelda Barbour Wynn Valdes,” OUP blog, https://blog.oup.com/2015/03/costume-designer-zelda-wynn-valdes/. Said `` It … zelda Barbour Wynn Valdes was born on June 28, 1905, Chambersburg., at age ninety-six ears taller and the ensemble lacked the trademark tie... 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