Inspiring Beauty: Ebony Fashion Fair

January 31–April 24, 2016 in the Grand Gallery
Inspiring Beauty - 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair
Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Stephen Burrows, Patrick Kelly, Valentino, Vivienne Westwood, Alexander McQueen… These are just a few of the world-class designers whose stunning creations were selected for Ebony Fashion Fair—a traveling spectacular that helped redefine the concepts of empowerment, pride and achievement for African Americans.

Inspiring Beauty brings together forty show-stopping ensembles, including haute couture and ready-to-wear gowns, feathered coats and statement designs from the 1960s to the 21st century. MAG is the only Northeast venue for the show, which is the first to explore the history of the Ebony Fashion Fair and the inspirational woman behind it, Eunice Johnson.

Read this post on Physical Canvas about viewing the exhibition for the first time, and then coming back with her mother!

Programs and Events

Buy ticketsFashion Week RochesterBHMFD

VisitMAGGospel BrunchEbony April Gala

Gospel Brunches

  • Select Sundays*, February 7–April 17, 10 am–2 pm: enjoy brunch served by MAG’s new café, Brown Hound Downtown, and music. Get in to see the exhibition (MAG admission required); tours begin at 1 pm. Reservations requested, 585.506.9725.
    Sponsored by City newspaper and the Eastman School of Music

*Please note that we will be offering our Easter weekend Gospel Brunch on Saturday, March 26.

Fashion Forward!

  • The Creative Workshop is offering a Teen Fashion Camp for ages 12–17  and a series of art and art history classes. Click here for more information and application.

School Break Specials

Kids 18 and under are free when accompanied by a paying adult

  • February Break | 2-13 through 2-21 | Open all week
  • Spring Break | 3-25 through 4-3 | Open all week

Super Saturdays

The Memorial Art Gallery will be open from 10 am to 5 pm on three Saturdays. Free admission from 10 to noon is made possible by the City of Rochester.

  • February 6
  • March 5
  • April 2

read the press release

Inspiring Beauty Lookbook

Browse and enjoy, then hit escape to exit.


Inspiring Beauty: 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair was developed by the Chicago History Museum in cooperation with Johnson Publishing Company, LLC, presented by the Costume Council of the Chicago History Museum, and toured by International Arts & Artists, Washington, DC.

In Rochester, it is presented by the Gallery Council of the Memorial Art Gallery and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. Major support is provided by The Gouvernet Arts Fund at the Community Foundation, Abigail Riggs Collection, Canandaigua National Bank & Trust, and Wahl Media. Additional funding is provided by three anonymous donors, City of Rochester, COMIDA, FULL MEA5URE, John D. Greene Endowment for Contemporary Exhibitions, Robert L. and Mary L. Sproull Fund, and Nocon & Associates, a private wealth advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc.

Media sponsors are the Democrat and Chronicle Media Group and News10NBC.

Pictured L to R: Emanuel Ungaro (1987) evening dress, Krizia (1981-82) jumpsuit, Pierre Cardin (1988-89) evening dress, Pierre Balmain (1988-89) cocktail ensemble, Todd Oldham (1997-98) evening dress, Angelo Marani (2005-06) day ensemble.