Leave a comment

Zelda Barbour Wynn Valdes was an influential fashion designer perhaps best known for helping to create the iconic Playboy Bunny costume. She was also the first Black person to open a store on Broadway in New York City, and designed clothing for some of the top stars of the ’40’s and ’50s.

In 1948, the Pennsylvania-born Valdes opened her Chez Zelda boutique on Broadway and West 158th Street before relocating to Midtown. The move proved fruitful as Valdes worked with a bevy of stars including Joyce Bryant, Dorothy Dandridge, Josephine Baker, Ella Fitzgerald and Mae West among others. Later in her career, she designed for R&B legendĀ Gladys Knight and opera vocalist, Jessye Norman.

A year after opening her store, Valdes was named President of the New York chapter of the National Association of Fashion and Accessory Designers. As a result of her role with NAFAD, Valdes worked in exclusive circles and word of her designs caught the attention of Playboy’s Hugh Hefner.

1 2Next page »

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s