Zelda Wynn Valdes designed show-stopping evening gowns for performers including Josephine Baker, Mae West, Ella Fitzgerald, Dorothy Dandridge, Eartha Kitt, and Marian Anderson. She was the first African American to own a clothing boutique in Manhattan—the year was 1948. In the 1950s, she helped raise the profiles of Black designers as a founder and president of the New York Chapter of the National Association of Fashion and Accessory Designers. Valdes is probably best known for manufacturing the Playboy Bunny costume. In 1970 she began costuming for the new Dance Theatre of Harlem, and continued until her death in 2001, at the age of ninety-six.
Written by denisebrain