Zelda Wynn Valdes is the Most Influential Designer You've Probably Never Heard Of

You may not have heard of Zelda Wynn Valdes, but you've certainly seen her designs. The fashion designer is credited with creating the original Playboy bunny costume. The work of the trailblazing fashion designer/entrepreneur highlighted the coveted hour-glass figure in the 1940s and 1950s.

In 1948, was the first Black designer to open up her own shop on Broadway. Valdes created gorgeous gowns many stars like Mae West, Joyce Bryant, Josephine Baker, Gladys Knight, Sarah Vaughan, Dorothy Dandridge, Ella Fitzgerald and countless others.

Later in her life, she created costumes for the Dance Theater of Harlem, and Zelda Wynn Valdes also helped found the National Association of Fashion and Accessory Designers. She died in 2001 at age 96.
Check out some of her work.

Valdes fits a gown on Dorothy Dandridge

Ella Fitzgerald

Dorothy Dandridge

Eartha Kitt

Mae West

Valdes designed the Playboy bunny costume

For more information on the unsung The Threads Of Time, The Fabric Of History: Profiles Of African American Dressmakers And Designers From 1850 To The Present

Kimberly Foster is the Founder and Editor of COLOURES. Email or
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