The Battle of Versailles Fashion Show was an event created by Eleanor Lambert and Versailles curator Gerald Van der Kemp to raise money and to restore the famed palace.
Held on November 28, 1973; it pitted old world designers (Yves Saint Laurent, Pierre Cardin, Emanuel Ungaro, Christian Dior, and Hubert de Givenchy) and American relative newcomers (Oscar de la Renta, Stephen Burrows (designer), Halston, Bill Blass, and Anne Klein, who brought along her then-assistant, Donna Karan.With a guest list of 700 and notables such as Princess Grace, Andy Warhol and Liza Minnelli, the event became legendary
.Each designer was to submit eight designs for consideration. The Parisian designers viewed their competition as mere sportswear designers.The American designers used an unprecedented number (eleven) of Black models from the era. The American designers and their models stole the show.
In 2011, The Huffington Post Game Changer Awards honored the African American models of Versailles with the Style Award. The models included Pat Cleveland, Bethann Hardison, Billie Blair, Jennifer Brice, Alva Chinn, Norma Jean Darden, Charlene Dash, Barbara Jackson, China Machado, Ramona Saunders, and Amina Warsuma