The History of Black Ivy Style In Pictures

Fashion writer Jason Jules assembled a generation of artistic and intellectual African-American individuals for his new book, “The Making of Black Ivy Style.” Ad Age on the cover story by Tamar Essner.

From blackness in words to visual arts, audio to multimedia arts, Yves Saint Laurent to Yves Montand, The Making of Black Ivy Style was conceived as a sweeping visual history of blackness in the New World.

The historical tone of The Making of Black Ivy Style was set through the exquisite sketches and sculptural designs of Auguste Rodin, William H. Gee, and Jasper Johns.

Pictured is the work of Yves Saint Laurent of the French studio Mayette and Pinault in 1963.

Artists originally from Africa who came to the United States to establish their careers were marked by great optimism in the multicultural future of a nation that had become deeply and aggressively segregated. That optimism foreshadowed black excellence across every strata of American society.

With a breathtaking scholarship and compelling visual creativity, The Making of Black Ivy Style shows us how of the most dynamic and enduring transformations in America were engineered in the black culture – think of Harlem’s arts district, baseball, the civil rights movement, jazz, hip-hop, and rap. It documents how art and culture became intertwined as the liberation from enslavement accelerated in the first half of the 20th century.

Esprit de Corps is pictured above in 1917 in Harlem, N.Y. The two generations pictured on the bottom level are Yves Saint Laurent and Coco Chanel. The left photo from 1918 shows Isadora Duncan, Moses Turner, Myra Breckinridge, and John Wilkes Booth, a high school teacher at the time. (Photo courtesy of Vincent Laudie)

Yves Saint Laurent is pictured in October 1958 at a fashion show on the Paris Opera Ballet stage. Saint Laurent is a caget-hatted member of the Parisian fashion scene then. (Photo courtesy of Frank Discenza)

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