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Donyale Luna wearing Paco Rabanne
Donyale Luna dans une robe Paco Rabanne

DONYALE LUNA



Not very much information is readily available about the life of the first black supermodel, Donyale Luna. Her life was short, but in it, she made significant history breaking achievements.

Born and named Peggy Anne Donyale Aragonea Pegeon Freeman in 1946, in Detroit, Michigan, USA Donyale was destined to have an exceptional existence.

Becoming a model in the mid 1960's, she set the fashion world on fire with her energy and her zest for life. Eccentric to the end, when asked from where she hailed, Luna, was she was commonly called, would say, "I'm from the moon baby!"

Donyale made history by becoming the first black woman to get the cover of a Vogue magazine. Her face hit the cover of the British edition of Vogue on March 1, 1966. Time Magazine once called her "unquestionably the hottest model in Europe" when she was 20 years old.

Luna's star was by far one of the brightest. And as the 1960s was a time for experimenting with fashion, Luna was the name that had to be associated with it!

She was a favourite of French couturiers, Paco Rabanne and Yves Saint Laurent. And when the paper dress trend arrived to the USA and to Europe from Australia, Luna was again called upon to champion them.

Luna was even there as a model when in 1964, American journalists spat in the face of Rabanne when he organised his fashion show in the USA using only black models. For Rabanne, fashion futurist, Luna was a perfect ambassador to show of the contrast between the metal used in his dresses and black skin.
Back in Europe, she continued to weave her magic and cast spells over those who came into her with her personality's magnetic field. In 1965, she became the first black model to get the cover of Queen (now Harpers & Queens). The leading French publication, Paris Match, called upon her to pose in its fashion pages, Harpers Bazaar, Mirror Newspapers, all had to have her unbridled energy.

Luna dazzled and stole the show at many a fashion show. In one, instead of walking down the runway with a model's strut, she simply laid down and rolled from one end of the runway to the other. This caused such a roar among the photographers and fashion editors that the name LUNA became synonymous with the word diva! ...

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