February 13th, 2013
Black History Month, Blacks in Fashion
Black History Month on the Fashion Bomb: Lena Horne’s Influence on Fashion
By Faith

When it comes to natural beauty, Lena Horne will undoubtedly go down as one of the most stunning women of all time, though her flawless façade was just one of her many outstanding facets.

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Born Lena Mary Calhoun Horne in 1917 in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, Lena got her start by joining the chorus line of the Cotton Club in New York City at the young age of 16. She became the first black performer to sign a long-term contract with a major studio in Hollywood by choosing Metro-Goldwyn Mayer and toured venues all around the states, Canada, and Europe. Lena became a household name on a number of variety shows, was nominated for a Tony Award for her role in musical, Jamaica, and went on to to co-host specials in the ’70s with the great Harry Belafonte and Tony Bennett.

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Lena oozed glamour with every look, never seen without perfect hair and makeup, as well as opting for luxurious textures from brocade to silk chiffon.

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See her belt out “Stormy Weather” here:

Lena has had a definite influence on the fashion industry. The Gap called on the beauty for one of its classic commercials in 1997.

She was classy and sexy simultaneously, doing it ever so naturally. Check out this vintage photo of Lena: do you recognize her look anywhere today?

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Stars like Solange Knowles, Alesha Dixon, and Teyana Taylor have been spotted in the double slit trend and it was photographed on Melodie Monrose and Anais Mali for Interview’s December 2010 issue.

solange-knowles-ermenegildo-zegna-essenze-collection-launch-event-new-york-city-olcay-gulsen-two-slit-dress-2Get-the-Look-Alesha-Dixons-Britain-Got-Talent-Auditions-Aqua-Maxi-Double-Slit-Skirt-and-Beltdouble4-500x320Teyana Taylor's Instagram Black Long Sleeve Double Slit Maxi Dress

Jurnee Smollett re-imagined Lena’s famous Ebony cover for the glossy’s 65th anniversary.

ebony-jurnee Smollett as Lena Horne

Lena Horne was the epitome of the phrase “class act”. She not only dominated the film and television industries, but was also an avid activist for Civil Rights, working with central figures like Paul Robeson, Medgar Evers, JFK, and participating on the March on Washington. Her beauty and effortless glamour put her on the map, but her talent, courage, and charm are what have made her impossible to forget.

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Lena Horne Smiling

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23 Responses to “Black History Month on the Fashion Bomb: Lena Horne’s Influence on Fashion”

  1. Taj says:

    Gorgeous, elegant, talented, and inspirational. I love Lena Horne.

  2. binks says:

    Love me some Lena Horne! Now she was a certified 10 with beauty, brains, class, integrity and sex appeal.

  3. tia says:

    YEs YES YES!!!! *faints*

  4. EatStylePlay says:

    My grandmother named my mom after her. Her music was such a big fixture in my home growing up I love her style, and she was perfection.

  5. RHONYC says:

    US ELEGANCE DOLLS FROM ‘THE STY’ REPRESENTIN’ 4 EVA!!! ;-D

  6. RHONYC says:

    ELEGANT (my blood pressure shot up when i saw her, lol! )

  7. aries says:

    Lena Horne was beautiful, thanks for these black history posts, very interesting.

  8. s says:

    Timeless, elegant, classic beauty….Love miss Lena Horne. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for these black history posts!

  9. mojada75 says:

    ****FASHIONBOMB!!! Beautiful, gorgeous and classy woman, there will never be another like her..

  10. mojada75 says:

    ****FASHIONBOMBshell!!! Beautiful, gorgeous and classy woman, there will never be another like her..

  11. SHAQ NICHOLE says:

    Next big screen person to play Lena Horne….ALICIA KEYS hands down. I always said she looked like her…she would be good acting as her too! Beautiful pics though…

  12. Guest says:

    I completely agree with @SHAQ NICHOLE… I always thought A.Keys resembles Ms. Lena Hornes

  13. Miss White says:

    Love this! Great post!

  14. justme says:

    Keep it up FBD!!

  15. Loves her! Timeless, claasic, beauty. would love to see a movie about her life, Definitely don’t want to see A. Keys play her though.

  16. MissCSE says:

    I love this FBD! Thank you. My personal style icons are Diahann Carroll, Chaka Khan, and Diana Ross. Though I hardly dress like them, I admire what they brought to the game. Could you guys incorporate a post of these wonderful women too?

  17. Gigi Young says:

    If you’ve read her bio by Gavin Lambert, he goes into detail of how MGM costumer Helen Rose created Lena’s signature look to deflect from her body flaws (as the studios did for all actors and actresses). They knew how to present glamor that fit an individual’s body type while maintaining the silhouette of the day–a skill that is lost in today’s fast fashion.

  18. Janet says:

    SHE IS BEAUTIFUL .

  19. LEGZFORDAYZ says:

    GORGEOUS! GREAT EXAMPLE OF STRONG WOMEN OF COLOR! SHE WAS MULTIRACIAL…..

  20. tt says:

    beautiful!

  21. Jei says:

    Yess, I love how our history is still present in so many aspects & includes fashion.

  22. Ronnie says:

    Yes yes yes @Jei!!

  23. Danielle says:

    I love the Black History month theme, and I think it’s a good idea to implement a throwback once every week. Maybe from 1999 and before. I would love to continue to see styles of all of these beautiful black women from the past more often. After all fashion does repeat itself…everything thats being done has already been done. :)

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