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Shades of Fashion: Honoring Eunice Johnson’s Legacy of Beauty

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Desirée Rogers, CEO of Johnson Publishing Company, was was selected by Barack Obama‘s office as the White House Social Secretary for the incoming administration in November 2008. Rogers was the  first African American to serve in that post. She stepped down in February 2010, and returned to Chicago.

On August 10, 2010, Rogers was named CEO of Johnson Publishing Company. The Fashion 2012 event at Columbia College Chicago was a fundraising event to kickoff a scholarship fund named for Eunice Johnson, who was the producer and director of the Ebony Fashion Fair and secretary-treasurer of Johnson Publishing Company in Chicago for many years. Johnson died at the age of 93 in 2010.

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Eunice W. Johnson.

In 1958, when Johnson wanted to do a charity fashion show, which later became the Ebony Fashion Fair the models had difficult finding make-up, in  shades to match their skin. The down-to-earth Johnson, a natural entrepreneur saw a business opportunity and Fashion Fair Cosmetics was born. Johnson traveled to Europe for clothing at a time when some designers feared that if a black woman wore their fashions, then white women wouldn’t buy them. She ended up working with new and upcoming designers, helping to discover designers like Valentino, Roberto Cavalli, Pierre Cardin and Yves Saint Laurent. Here Desirée Rogers welcomes the crowd and says a few words about the fashion show, scholarships, and Johnson wearing a stunning dress herself. Video by Theo Daniels.

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