In an industry where black models struggle to find work, Philip Treacy's bold and mesmerising catwalk show featuring only black models is sensational progress
10:53 GMT, 17 September 2012
Milliner Philip Treacy made a sensational return to London Fashion Week tonight with a mesmerising catwalk show which featured only black models.
Popstar Lady Gaga, dressed in one of her trademark veils, opened the stunning show at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.
Alek Wek and Jourdan Dunn were among the models who took to the catwalk during the runway show which showcased Treacy's Spring / Summer 2013 collection.
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Catwalk queens: The Treacy show featured a number of eccentric creations
Futuristic: The showcase featured a number of gold futuristic styles
Minnie Mouse style ears sequinned
helmets and dramatic fascinators featuring mini-fairgrounds made up some
of the outlandish headgear on display for the audience, which included
Dita Von Teese, Kelly Brook and Sex and the City star Kim Cattrall.
Late singer Michael Jackson was
featured heavily in the production and the models wore some of the
star's most iconic outfits, including the red leather jacket he wore in
the video for Thriller.
music made up the soundtrack and some of his biggest hits were blared
across the venue, including Will You Be There, Wanna Be Startin'
Somethin' and Billie Jean.
VIDEO: Lady Gaga opens the Philip Treacy show
Dunn, 22, tweeted her excitement about the show shortly before she took to the runway.
'So the genius that is Philip Treacey
just had an all BLACK model Cast,wearing MICHAEL JACKSON ORIGINAL
STAGE/VIDEO outfits!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!' she wrote.
The British-born model has previously admitted that
she experienced prejudice while starting out in the fashion industry.
'There are loads of new black faces
on the runways, which is a great thing,' she said in a recent interview
with The Guardian.
'When I started out, it was different. I did
experience some issues with the colour of my skin – I used to get a list
of castings and there would be notes saying they just wanted blondes. '
Creations: Some of the designs wouldn't look out of place in Lady Gaga's wardrobe
Sociable: Gaga sat chatting to her fellow attendees as she prepared to watch the action
She also revealed that while
travelling to a casting, her agent had called her and said, 'Turn back –
they decided they don't want any black models.'
Treacy has not commented on his decision to use only black models, but the unusual move is considered to be a positive step by fashion industry experts.
Premier Model Management spokesperson Alex Shah has welcomed the decision.
'I think it's a step in the right direction but many photographers and make-up artists still don't know how to work with black skin,' she told the Sunday Times.
Fashionable friends: Kim Cattrall enjoyed an animated chat with Bryan Ferry as they sat on the front row together
Pretty in pink: Gaga opened the Philip Treacy show wearing a hot pink cape
Gothic glam: Dita Von Teese opted for a black netted fascinator and velvet peplum dress as she attended the London Fashion Week event
'The black supermodels of the 1980s like Naomi Campbell and Iman have certainly made it a lot easier for the new generation but it is still harder to book black models.
'They will be used in spring/summer shows, when there is a tribal theme, but it is much harder in autumn/winter.'
The groundbreaking event, the Irish hat designer's first London show in ten years, was dedicated to Treacy's former muse Isabella Blow, who committed suicide in 2007, and Michael Jackson.
The absence of black models on fashion magazines covers and the runway is an issue which has provoked much debate over the years.
In 2008, Italian Vogue famously featured only black models in its July issue to highlight the subject.
The pictures were taken by New-York based photographer Steven Meisel.
'I thought, it's ridiculous, this discrimination. It's so crazy to live in such a narrow, narrow place. Age, weight, sexuality, race – every kind of prejudice,' he told the New York Times.
Meisel blamed designers, magazine editors and advertisers for the decline in the numbers of black women in fashion shows.
The magazine published a second all-black editorial in 2011.