Editor's note: This episode originally broadcast on Nov. 24, 2023.

In 1973, Americans triumphed in a fashion smackdown that earned the country respect and admiration among critics worldwide.

On that day 50 years ago, American and French designers went head-to-head in a creative competition dubbed the “Battle of Versailles.” The fashion show was held at the historic Palace of Versailles, the former residence of King Louis XIV.

The Americans won with cutting-edge ready-to-wear and stunning Black models. A half-century later, the legacy of the once-obscure event continues to shape global fashion.


Robin Givhan, senior critic-at-large for the Washington Post and author of “The Battle of Versailles: The Night American Fashion Stumbled into the Spotlight and Made History”

Alva Chinn, actress and model from the 1973 "Battle of Versailles"

Jay Calderin, founder and executive director of Boston Fashion Week and co-director of education at the School of Fashion Design in Boston