Tribute to Legendary Eunice Johnson at Met


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Eunice Johnson with Yves Saint Laurent.

The tribute for Eunice W. Johnson in New York was scheduled before her death which made the luncheon tribute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Monday, January 11th, even that more poignant.  The Temple of Dendur was filled with around 200 A-list celebs and high powered Chicagoans who attended such as MK Pritzker, Eunice's granddaughter Alexa Johnson, Whoopi Goldberg, model Veronica Webb, Gayle King, CNN's Soledad O'Brien, Anna Wintour, Andre Leon Talley, socialite Susan Fales- Hill, Neal Zucker,  Pat Cleveland (who was one of the first Ebony Fashion Fair models), Ashford and Simpson,  and Latonya Richardson (wife of Samuel Jackson) among many others. 

 

The host committee consisted of Gayle Perkins Atkins, Carol Sutton Lewis, David Meitus, designer B. Michael, Linda Johnson Rice, Audrey Smaltz, Andre Leon Talley, Lizzie Tisch and Isabel and Ruben Toledo.  The invitation was non-transferable, required business attire, lasted from noon- 2:30 PM and read: "The Host Committee invite you to a luncheon celebrating a philanthropist, fashion icon and a founder of Ebony Magazine."  Former President Bill Clinton gave the sentimental opening address and told the guests that he and Mr. Johnson were from the same state of Arkansas.  He went on to say how honored he was to escort Mrs. Johnson to her late husband's funeral in 2005.  White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers read a letter from President Obama and First Lady Michelle sending their condolences to the family.  Since Eunice Johnson was the producer and director of the internationally famous Ebony Fashion Fair, several of the garments from the show were displayed at the tribute.  The gorgeous fashions included designs by Bob Mackie, Patrick Kelly and Valentino among others.  Linda Johnson Rice said in her remarks that her mother developed close personal relationships with many of the designers because rather than borrow pieces for her show, she would buy them outright.  Under Eunice's direction, the fair traveled to nearly 180 cities annually in the US, Canada, and the Caribbean, raising more than $55 million for various charities. 

 

NY Gov David Paterson bestowed a proclamation in honor of Eunice W. Johnson and it read in part:  "The Empire State is proud to recognize the lives of extraordinary individuals.....Eunice was a groundbreaking giant in the world of fashion and design as well as a visionary pioneer,  philanthropist and inspiration to countless Americans of all ages, races and backgrounds."

 

Her legacy is in very good hands with her daughter Linda Johnson Rice at the helm. 

 

(Special thanks to Aisha Murff!) 

 

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  • Very Nice!

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