For the first time in a 163 years history, Louis Vuitton sends a black model down the runway to open the show on Paris Fashion Week. Janaye Furman kicked-off Louis Vuitton’s spring 2018 collection as the first black model to open the show.
“What a blessing!!,” Furman wrote in an Instagram post. “Wow! This is such an incredible and unbelievable moment! Not only for my first opening show to be Louis Vuitton but to make history as the first African American girl to open LV?!! Thank you God and everyone for all of the amazing support! I’m so glad more women of color are rocking the runways. It’s so important that we stand up for ourselves and make a difference in this world.”
Selected by casting director Ashley Brokaw to walk Vuitton’s Fall 2017 show, Furman has become one of the brand’s common faces in editorials and campaigns, but her spot at the show marks the first time that an African-American model has been chosen for the house’s opening look.
Janaye was first discovered during a class performance last year and made her runway debut walking for Proenza Schouler’s fall 2017 show.
Louis Vuitton’s change to open the show with a black model is a sign of the fashion industry’s impulse to bring more variety—in race, size, and gender identity—to its runways.