"When Bergdorf Served Chitlins and Champagne" by Rikki Byrd (2017)

On May 20th, 1969, black designers, black models, black makeup artists, black hair stylists, and an all-black jazz quintet wearing dashikis gathered at Bergdorf Goodman. They had all been hired to participate in an evening titled “Basic Black at Bergdorf’s,” the highlights of which included Naomi Sims (considered the first black supermodel) and other women from Liaison (a group for young black professional women that organized projects for the black community) wearing clothes from Jon Haggins, Arthur McGee, Maybelle Lewis, Mr. Jack of London, Jon Weston, and Lueretha Williams (black designers who are often left out of the lexicon of notable American fashion).

Guests enjoyed a soul food feast of chitlins, fried chicken, ribs, greens, black-eyed peas, and champagne. “It’s all very in and chic to be eating soul food here at Bergdorf’s,” Mrs. Charles Taylor, a woman involved with organizing the event, told The Washington Post and Times-Herald. “But we should remember that this once was the only food poor blacks had. And it didn’t used to be all that good.”

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Kimberly Jenkins