Iman left modeling and started her eponymous beauty label in 1994.
Since then, her company has become one of the leading makeup brands for women of color.
Together, they provided a much-needed outlet for black women systematically excluded from the pages of white-targeted fashion publications like and other publications targeted at a black demographic are still very much part of the picture today, the racial exclusion practiced throughout the industry finally began to dwindle with the rise of the Civil Rights Movement.
Here, Hardison is pictured attending the Hearts of Gold Gala in New York City, November 2013.In the 1960s and ’70s, ground-breakers like Luna, Pat Cleveland, Grace Jones and, eventually, Iman, started appearing on the scene, oftentimes championed as one designer’s muse.Cleveland and Luna were undisputed darlings of the mod Youth Quake fashion scene of the sixties, and they set the stage for more and more black models to break into the industry.It seemed that modeling agencies, designers, and editors all tended to look for one type of body, one type of face, and one skin color.Baker and Holiday were major outliers in the racially-segregated, largely conservative milieu of the early to mid-twentieth century, as black women were afforded very little recognition in any field by mainstream media during this time period.The world of fashion hasn’t exactly been known for it’s diversity over the years.The first half of the twentieth century elevated a mere handful of black style icons—like the eternally-glamorous flapper Josephine Baker and the 1940’s jazz songstress Billie Holiday—and the march of progress within the fashion industry itself was even slower.At the time of his death, she stated, "I was YSL’s first Black muse…he called me Moumounn.The collection that made me a celebrity was the one inspired by ‘Porgy and Bess.’ Catherine Deneuve stood up and started clapping!Other models featured at Versailles include Bethann Hardison, Pat Cleveland, and China Machado. This job solidified her place in the industry, and launched her career as one of the most recognizable supermodels of all time.Above, Iman walks the runway at the Jean Paul Gaultier show in 1983, when she was 28.