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New Exhibition at GW Showcases How High Fashion Became an Expression of African-American Empowerment

Inspiring Beauty
‘Inspiring Beauty: 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair’ at the George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum Features Iconic Fashion From Top Designers
February 09, 2017
February 9, 2017
Brett Zongker,, 202-994-6466
Maralee Csellar,, 202-994-7564
The George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum will host a press preview of the new exhibition “Inspiring Beauty: 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair.” The exhibition presents the history of Ebony Fashion Fair and its impact on the African-American community. Eunice Walker Johnson, co-founder of Johnson Publishing Company, created the traveling show in 1958 to bring the world’s best fashion to African-American audiences previously excluded by the fashion world. Under Ms. Johnson, the show presented with Ebony Magazine blossomed into an American institution that raised millions for charity and helped shape a new vision of black America. 
The exhibition features dozens of ensembles by leading designers including Stephen Burrows, Hubert de Givenchy, Christian Lacroix, Bob Mackie, Missoni and Vivienne Westwood—as well as archival photographs and video to re-create the unique Fashion Fair experience. 
The exhibition was developed by the Chicago History Museum in cooperation with Johnson Publishing Company, LLC, and is presented by the Costume Council of the Chicago History Museum, and toured by International Arts and Artists, Washington, D.C.
Thursday, March 16, 2017
9 a.m. – Press Coffee – George Hewitt Myers Room
9:15-10:15 a.m. – Exhibition Preview – 2nd and 3rd floor galleries
The George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum
701 21st St., NW
Washington, D.C. 
Foggy Bottom-GWU Metro (Blue, Orange and Silver lines)
Camille Ann Brewer, curator of contemporary textile art at the George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum. 
Admission is free for museum members, children and current GW students, faculty and staff. A suggested donation of $8 for non-members will support the museum’s exhibitions, collections and educational programs. 
The exhibition opens to the public on March 18 and closes on July 24, 2017. 
For the most up-to-date information on the museum's visiting hours, please check 
Media interested in attending the press preview must RSVP with Brett Zongker at or 202-994-6466 by 12 p.m. Monday, March 13. Attention calendar editors: Please do not publish media contact information.