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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Fashion History: Donyale Luna

Donyale Luna, born as Peggy Anne Freeman, was the first African American model to appear on the cover of Vogue (March 1966). An article in Time magazine published in April 1966, "The Luna Year," described the Luna as "a new heavenly body who, because of her striking singularity, promises to remain on high for many a season. Donyale Luna, as she calls herself, is unquestionably the hottest model in Europe at the moment. She is only 20, a Negro, hails from Detroit, and is not to be missed."

Although the names printed on her birth certificate say otherwise, she insisted that her biological father was a man with the surname Luna and that her mother was Mexican. According to the model, one of her grandmothers was reportedly an Irishwoman who married a black interior decorator. Whether any of this background is true is uncertain. In the mid 1960s, a relative described Luna as being "a very weird child, even from birth, living in a wonderland, a dream."

According to Judy Stone, who wrote a profile of Luna for The New York Times in 1968, the model was "secretive, mysterious, contradictory, evasive, mercurial, and insistent upon her multiracial lineage -- exotic, chameleon strands of Mexican, American Indian, Chinese, Irish, and, last but least escapable, Negro."

During the late sixties and early seventies, Luna appeared in several films produced by Andy Warhol. In the late 1960s, in an interview, she expressed her fondness for LSD: "I think it's great. I learned that I like to live, I like to make love, I really do love somebody, I love flowers, I love the sky, I like bright colors, I like animals. [LSD] also showed me unhappy things -- that I was stubborn, selfish, unreasonable, mean, that I hurt other people." May 17, 1979 Luna died in Rome, Italy, in a clinic, after a drug overdose.

To read more about Donyale Luna click

For more pics click here.


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