CHIC Fancy Black History Through Fashion & Style: Zelda Wynn Valdes

Today marks the first day of Black History Month! Hope you’re excited, because I sure am. We all know that the fashion industry is one of the hardest industries to break in to. It can be brutal to say the least, but there have been many successful people who have broken barriers through design, beauty, innovation and style.

Meet Zelda Wynn Valdes, the first african american fashion designer and costumer to open a black owned shop on Broadway in 1948.

Known for her sexy sophisticated styles, Ms. Valdes became the go to designer for the stars. She dressed the likes of Josephine Baker, Dorothy Dandridge, Sarah Vaughn, Marian Anderson, Joyce Bryant and Ella Fitzgerald to name a few.  Setting the standard for glamorous gowns and flawless silhouettes she caught the eye of the legendary Hugh Hefner and designed the very first playboy bunny costumes.

Amoung the contributions of memorable pieces, Zelda Wynn Valdes also helped establish the National Association of Fashion and Accessory Designers, that has inspired many to pursue careers in the fashion industry. In her later years she designed costumes for the Dance Theatre of Harlem and supervised the wardrobe department into her 90’s. Below are a few pictures of some of Ms. Valdes’s designs:

Joyce Bryant

Marian Anderson

Dorothy Dandridge

Playboy Bunny

Joyce Bryant

Mae West

Joyce Bryant

An extraordinarily talented woman indeed!

Thank you Ms. Zelda Wynn Valdes for your CHIC Fancy contributions to our black history, I appreciate you!

Peace Love Fashion,



3 thoughts on “CHIC Fancy Black History Through Fashion & Style: Zelda Wynn Valdes

  1. Truly a nice share. Very inspirational to see my black history in a form I admire and can relate to–thank you Dominique!

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