“Mrs. Johnson [was] smart enough as a businesswoman, as a visionary, to take color and translate it to the needs of women of many hues,” Talley says. “Everything with Mrs. Johnson became a celebration of who we are, of who black women were.”
When Yves Saint Laurent produced a screaming orange or pink lipstick that became a must-have in the fashion world, Talley says, Johnson translated that for black women.
“She knew how to express style, translate trends into viable products for the African-American woman, whose budget very often is not one that can support a lipstick tube that would cost … $100 nowadays,” Talley says. “She made sure that Ebony Fashion Fair products were for people of all walks of life.”
Hot tip: All of Ebony‘s archives are scanned online.