Donyale Luna | Basically Black History Series
Posted on February 05 2021
Basically Clothing presents the #basicallyBlackHistory series for the month of February. In this series we will highlight four names you should and might know and share a snapshot of their significance in both the fashion industry and as Black History icons, to be known, celebrated and remembered. In addition to weekly IG posts, we will provide further information and references here, on our blog, so whether you’re learning their names for the first time, or you’re reflecting on their work, you can read more below!
This week we celebrate, Donyale Luna:
- First Black woman to cover Vogue Magazine with her March 1966 cover in British Vogue
- Identified by other firsts and greats, like Beverly Johnson and Naomi Campbell, as having paved the way for their opportunities and success
- During her career, known as eccentric and ethereal, Donyale Luna connects with the Basically. Clothing aesthetic which pushes and transforms basics, like the white tee, to new, chic, effortless, and versatile heights
- Still relevant today, Nov/Dec 2020 cover girl, Zendaya, channels the iconic Donyale Luna in Essence 50th Anniversary Collector’s Edition
Known as the “first Black supermodel”, Donyale Luna is the first Black woman to be featured on the cover of Vogue magazine, appearing on the cover of British Vogue in 1966. Originally from Detroit, Michigan, Luna’s first magazine covers were published by Harper’s Bazaar in 1965, yet even in her meteoric rise, she faced discrimination within the industry. Even as 1966 was dubbed “the Luna Year” by Time Magazine, where she held the title of the “Most Photographed Girl” by Jet Magazine, and “Model of the Year” by US Vogue, many magazine subscribers In the US ended their subscriptions with magazines that featured her, advertisers pulled their accounts, and some designers refused to allow their clothes to be photographed on her. Additionally, some magazines prevented photographers from booking her for their shoots.
Still, Donyale Luna’s career included print and sculpted modeling, as well as film; she is remembered as one of the great beauties of her era and having a walk and a face that inspired many models who followed her. We remember her today as we acknowledge the many Black models who are not only reflecting the beauty of our Blackness on their respective platforms, but are demanding and creating an industry that honors the past, present and future contributions of Black people -- our Black History and our Black Futures