Having published two issues exclusively featuring black models, Vogue Italia will always get credit for doing it both first and second, but Philip Treacy might be the first to adopt the look for an entire runway show. Marking his re-entry into London Fashion Week after a ten year hiatus, Treacy debuted his Spring 2013 hat collection on an all-black cast of models. The one outlier was Lady Gaga, who opened the show but was relegated to wearing a pink veil.
Big names on Treacy’s runway included Alek Wek, Joan Smalls, Sessilee Lopez, and Jourdan Dunn. While the absence of women of color — any color besides blond, really — in fashion has been much discussed, the issue seems to have eased sightly during recent Fashion Weeks. While the ratios are still extreme, there haven’t been quite as many instances of shows comprised entirely of Central European teens. Of course, even the fact that Treacy’s move is still making a point, and is well worthy of major publicity, illustrates the continuing lack of diversity in fashion.
Beyond the models he cast, Treacy’s show was a tribute to Michael Jackson (his music played and the models were outfitted in Jacksonian garb), Isabella Blow, and Alexander McQueen. We love the idea of designers using their runways as emotional and political outlets; hats off to Treacy (no pun intended). If we ever have a need to wear a giant gold net domed headpiece, he’ll be the first milliner we turn to.