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The historY

the battle of


The Battle of Versailles Fashion Show

was a historic fashion show held on November 28, 1973, in the Palace of Versailles to raise money for its restoration. Created by Eleanor Lambert and Versailles curator Gerald Van der Kemp, the show pitted French designers; Yves Saint Laurent, Pierre Cardin, Emanuel Ungaro, Marc Bohan, and Hubert de Givenchy against American designers Oscar de la Renta, Stephen Burrows, Halston, Bill Blass, and Anne Klein, who brought along her assistant, Donna Karan.

With a guest list of 700 and notables such as Princess Grace, Marie-Hélène de Rothschild, Jacqueline de Ribes, Gloria Guinness, Andy Warhol, Liza Minnelli and Joséphine Baker the event became legendary. Each designer was to submit eight designs for consideration. 

The Parisian designers viewed their competition as mere sportswear designers. The American designers used eleven black models, an unprecedented number at the time. The American designers and their models stole the show, providing a youthful approach and stunning the primarily French audience.

The models included Pat Cleveland, Bethann Hardison, Billie Blair, Jennifer Brice, Alva Chinn, Norma Jean Darden, Charlene Dash, Barbara Jackson, Ramona Saunders, and Amina Warsuma. 

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