I was amazed when I found out that the famous playboy bunny customes were created by an African American woman by the name of Zelda Wynn Valdes. Born in Pennsylvannia on June 28, 1905 Valdes was the first black owned business to open a shop on Broadway in 1948. As a young child Zelda would create clothing for her dolls by cutting out patterns from newspaper and studying her grandmothers work as a seamstress. She created as a dress for her grandmother that she loved that requested to be buried in.
As a young black designer many clients of the fancy clothier Valdes landed her first job at doubted her skills, because of her color, but a determined Zelda was eager to show them her God given talents. “I got God given talent for making people beautiful,” she was quoted as saying. With her elegant designs she dressed celebrites like Ella Fitzgerald, Ertha Kitt, Mae West and Ruby Dee just to name a few.
As I look at these pictures of Zelda Wynn Valdes design I am at awe. It looks like she started the trend of what I call the fit and flare gown (mermaid design). And to think this awesome lady was the creating of the infamous playboy bunny custome and probably the inspiration behind Marilyn Monroe’s style. I am really at awe, because I never knew anything about Mrs. Zelda Wynn Valdes. Below are photos of Valdes work