How the Little-Known Story of the Battle of Versailles Changed Fashion – E! Online

All in all, the Battle of Versailles marked the start of a new era for the fashion industry—in more ways than one. Yes, Paris Fashion Week was born, but Americans had influenced the French for once.

Even more game-changing? A more inclusive and diverse fashion industry.

As Marcellas explained to InStyle, “It was the first time that most Europeans would have seen that many Black models at once on the stage.”

“Europe has always been, as far as fashion [is concerned], a place where Black models thought they could go and work more than they could in the United States. That’s a fallacy,” the fashion expert and author continued. “There were a couple of models that broke through, like Dorothea Towles, in the late ’40s, and Helen Williams, who was the first dark skin Black model to do the European shows. But the doors of Europe were closed to Black models before the Battle of Versailles.”

Marcellas pointed out the monumental impact of the event, saying, “The milestones literally are the girls from the Battle of Versailles, then Iman, then Naomi [Campbell].”

“If there had not been those girls during the Battle of Versailles,” he added, “there’d be no Naomi Campbell. It was a defining moment.”