While some noticed that black models were still significantly underrepresented during New York Fashion Week, it looks like the fashion shows going on in London are picking up the slack.
In fact, world-renowned milliner Philip Treacy's didn't just send a few models of color down the runway--he cast an all black model presentation. A total of 25 black women strutted out in Treacy's over-the-top Michael Jackson-themed show, which was opened by the equally outrageous Lady Gaga.
We haven't seen this many black models take over a major fashion moment since Vogue Italia’s 2008 “All Black” issue.
“The show was a homage to the African woman and their sensibility to dress up,” Treacy told The London Evening Standard explaining his choice of models.
We'll take that as: we know how to dress--which is a much kinder assessment compared to Elle France's sad assertion that black women's heightened sense is only thanks to Michelle Obama.
Furthermore, the barrage of color was a welcomed surprise during Treacy's first runway show in 13 years. Black models are usually sprinkled throughout the long list of Fashion Week shows, popping up here and there and often the same four or five faces, like--Jourdan Dunn, Joan Smalls, Grace Mahary and Jasmine Tookes. It was nice to see a slew of beautiful black beauties parade down the runway, even if many of their faces were covered by Treacy's eccentric designs. However, are these heavy doses of diversity (that are few and far between) enough to quell the demand for more?
We're not so sure. Strong showings like the ones during Treacy's show only remind us that there are more than enough black models available and most importantly that they are (and have always been) beautiful ambassadors for a designer's creations.
Kenya Hunt, style director at Metro International, agrees and further argues that consistency is key.
"The real sign of progress is when we begin to see black women integrated into the runway in a regular, consistent and organic way, rather than just popping up as a sign of tokenism to fill some sort of quota. So while these all-black moments can be great for sparking dialogue about diversity on the runway… we need to see black girls on the runway as often as we do on the street," Hunt told The London Evening Standard.
There is still a long way to go when it comes to closing the diversity gap within the fashion industry--but we're counting Treacy's colorful show as a major win and a stylish step in the right direction.
Check out some looks from Philip Treacy's Spring 2013 fashion presentation in the slideshow below.
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