A line that connects the Black Lives Matter movement to the era that gave us a disco-dancing John Travolta as its poster image seems precariously tenuous at best. How could the decade recalled for its entertaining of working-class white folk and their all-night partying possibly have anything to do with the uprising of fundamental rights of African Americans?
Four years before the opening of Studio 54, in November of 1973, in an attempt to raise funds for a rapidly ailing Palace of Versailles a fashion battle was staged. It was to be the French fashion houses versus the Americans’ in a kind of extreme runway show. On the French side was Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior and Hubert de Givenchy while the Americans had Oscar de la Renta, Halston and Donna Karan. It had long been recognised that French fashion reigned over that of American, so never did the French really consider it a competition. Nor did they expect the outcome. In a move that ended up as historical as it was controversial, the American contingent’s roll-call of 11 African American models sparked a winning talking point that flooded worldwide news and has remained a cornerstone of race relations ever since.
This season, among others Michael Kors, Halpern and Saint Laurent drew on new-era disco connotation for their collections. But it was Tommy Hilfiger’s spring showcase that brought home the ‘Battle’. Enlisting 22-year-old singer-actress Zendaya as his collaborator, the superstar, whom is also a staunch advocate for Black Lives Matter crafted a superbly fitting cohesion for her first Tommy X Zendaya collection. A disco-happy, lit-up-runway freedom-celebration that saw models of all backgrounds (including some from the original ‘Battle’) revel in Halston-happy lamé jumpsuits and glittering frockery. Just like that one time, in Versailles.
SHOP the collection NOW
Tommy Hilfiger x Zendaya lurex jumper, $199, SHOP NOW
Tommy Hilfiger x Zendaya linen blazer, $599, SHOP NOW
Tommy Hilfiger x Zendaya heeled boots, $609, SHOP NOW
Tommy Hilfiger x Zendaya satin shirt, $229, SHOP NOW