FIT Library Dept of Special Collections and FIT Archives
  • Battle of Versailles Fashion Reunion

    The 'Battle of Versailles' was a landmark fashion show that pitted five American designers against five French designers. Held in 1973, it was one of the first events where African-American models took to high fashion runways. Above, a model showcases a design from American Stephen Burrows.
    FIT Library Dept of Special Collections and FIT Archives
  • Battle of Versailles Fashion Reunion

    The fashion show was held in a theater at the Palace of Versailles outside of Paris. Pictured above, another design by American Stephen Burrows.
    FIT Library Dept of Special Collections and FIT Archives
  • Battle of Versailles Fashion Reunion

    The fashion show not only broke racial barriers, it put American designers on the map. Before the event, the French had looked down at Americans as sportswear designers. Pictured, a glittering design by Halston.
    FIT Library Dept of Special Collections and FIT Archives
  • Battle of Versailles Fashion Reunion

    Five American designers participated in the event, including Halston, Anne Klein, Stephen Burrows, Oscar de la Renta, and Bill Blass, who created the designs pictured above.
    FIT Library Dept of Special Collections and FIT Archives
  • Battle of Versailles Fashion Reunion

    Forty years later, the 'Battle of Versailles' is still a source of pride for those who participated, including Oscar de la Renta who created the design above. "It was a show that was bound for disaster, and it turned out to be absolutely extraordinary," de la Renta recently told ABC News.
    FIT Library Dept of Special Collections and FIT Archives
  • Battle of Versailles Fashion Reunion

    Five designers from each country teamed up on each side before a celebrity-packed audience of 800, including a tiara-wearing Princess Grace. Lisa Minelli performed for the Americans, singing "Bonjour, Paris." Above, a design from the show by Anne Klein.
    FIT Library Dept of Special Collections and FIT Archives
  • Battle of Versailles Fashion Reunion

    When the American models walked down the runway, the crowd roaring to life -- cheering, stomping, throwing their programs in the air. "When our segment of the American designers ended, there was a standing ovation," said Oscar de la Renta, whose design is pictured above.
    FIT Library Dept of Special Collections and FIT Archives
  • Battle of Versailles Fashion Reunion

    On Jan. 24, 2011, the American models and designers gathered again at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art to celebrate their accomplishment decades ago. Above, model Billie Blair cries upon greeting designer Oscar de la Renta, who said, "She was the star of my show."
    Vicki Mabrey /ABC News
  • Battle of Versailles Fashion Reunion

    Model Pat Cleveland poses with Stephen Burrows' designs.
    Vicki Mabrey /ABC News
  • Battle of Versailles Fashion Reunion

    Designer Stephen Burrows stands near some of his designs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
    Vicki Mabrey /ABC News
  • Battle of Versailles Fashion Reunion

    (L-R) Model Alva Chinn, ABC's Vicki Mabry, Charlene Dash, and author Barbara Summers at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
    Vicki Mabrey /ABC News
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