By the mid 1950’s, African-American models were making cautiously optimistic inroads into mainstream print ads and television commercials. Dorothea Towles is generally credited with being the first successful Black high fashion mannequin, having appeared on the runways of Paris.
One of the most glamorous models of the Fifties, American born Dorothea Towles, was renowned for her chic style and impressive wardrobe, which she designed herself. She went to Paris to study design but her beauty and grace led to a modeling career with some of the greatest couturiers of the time.
Dorothea Towles was muse to Christian Dior who asked her to dye her hair a stunning platinum blonde, She appeared on many magazine covers and modeled also modeled for Schiaparelli, Jacques Fath and Robert Piguet. She toured the United States doing sophisticated fashion shows to packed houses.. Her experience working with the great designers gave Dorothea a profound insight into the design and construction of couture gowns.