Sophie Theallet’s first New York Fashion Week show starred a line up of all-Black models. Even in 2020, a casting like that makes news, but this was back in 2008, a moment when #RunwaysSoWhite would’ve been a popular hashtag if we were in the habit of using hashtags at that time. Theallet, a French designer and protégé of Azzedine Alaïa, was never one for rules. She more or less refused to do the pre-season collections that retailers asked for, and she couldn’t abide the constant demands for newness. After her fall 2016 show, which featured one glorious dress after another on a similarly inclusive cast – still a fairly rare thing at the time – Theallet quietly dropped off the NYFW calendar.
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