I know all of my FAB fashionistas are quite familiar with the renowned Ebony Fashion Fair and its SUPER FAB founder Eunice Johnson! But, if your memory can use some refreshing, here’s a brief history lesson: Ebony Fashion Fair, the world’s largest traveling fashion show, brought Mrs. Johnson’s vision of diversity, style, and drama to the runway for over fifty years! Eunice Johnson, the legendary wife of John Johnson (who began Johnson Publishing Company – home of Ebony magazine, Ebony Fashion Fair, Fashion Fair Cosmetics, and Jet magazine), noticed a void in the industry and went to work filling it! Decades later her courage, boldness, and AMAZING sense of style still deserve to be celebrated. Sadly, Mrs. Johnson passed away last year.
To celebrate the life and contributions of Eunice Johnson, Ebony, Fashion Fair Cosmetics–Macy’s presented a retrospective fashion exhibit and reception last week. Macy’s in Aventura Mall hosted the Miami celebration and the event and the stories that accompanied it were nothing short of inspiring. I even got the opportunity to interview Jeanine Collins who is the PR genius behind Johnson Publishing Company. I’ll tell you all about our chit-chat after I give you the low-down on the festivities!
The first thing I noticed were the fashions of course! Some of the most beautiful dresses I’ve ever seen were on display. The coolest part? Many of them were from Mrs. Johnson’s private collection and were featured in Ebony Fashion Fair shows. Another great touch that did not go unnoticed was the bright red wall of gorgeous photos of Mrs. Johnson and cool tid-bits of information. As if all of that wasn’t enough, there was a DJ, great food, tune by acclaimed local saxophonist Jon Saxx, and make-up artists providing demonstrations and consultations. The decor was even great – white with pops of red and purple accent lights.
With all the excitement, I couldn’t wait to find out more! My interview with Jeanine Collins provided more insight into the event, the lives of Mr. and Mrs. Johnson, and what it’s like to work with former White House social secretary Desiree Rogers of course! Here’s what Jeanine had to say:
What aspects of Mr. and Mrs. Johnson’s career do you find most inspring?
The barriers that they broke. For instance, Mrs. Johnson, she was able to go and buy the fashions with her own money. It was unheard of for an African American woman. She wasn’t a part of a fashion house. She just used her own resources. For Mr. Johnson, there were a lot of barriers for him. For instance, getting Fashion Fair Cosmetics in a retail store. Taking a chance, taking a risk on something you believe in, I think that’s most inspiring.
What’s your favorite part of the exhibit?
I think the fashions. They’re housed at Johnson Publishing Company, but to see them on the mannequins and to see the reactions of the people passing by, it’s just awesome.
What is Johnson Publishing Company doing to combat the financial challenges of the economy?
As you know, the publishing industry has taken a hit all together. However, we’re still strong. We have an iPad for Ebony app, so those are the things we are putting in place to just make sure are readers are continually engaged and, also, to stay on the digital platform.
What’s it like working with former White House social secretary Desiree Rogers?
It’s a joy. She is a woman well-versed at what she does. Her first love is business. So she challenges the team, but she also gives great direction. It’s been great.
Do you have a favorite product from the Fashion Fair cosmetics line?
I love Lip Teasers. I have a favorite, Lure. It’s a deeper berry. I love the new shadows. Those are fun.
What’s next for Fashion Fair?
Well, we’re expanding our foundations. We have now nineteen shades that fit women of color, but we’re going to expand those tones, so you should look for that in the spring.
If you want to see the exhibit, you better hurry–today is the last day. You can catch it on the 2nd Floor of Macy’s in Aventura Mall.