battle of versailles in 1973

Andy Warhol and Yves Saint Laurent at the ‘Battle of Versailles,’ November 28, 1973.

The “Battle of Versailles” was an event created by Eleanor Lambert and Versailles curator Gerald Van der Kamp. Held in Paris where the top american designers Oscar de la Renta, Bill Blass , Anne Klein, Halston, and Stephen Burrows were pitted against the top French designers Yves Saint Laurent, Hubert de Givenchy, Pierre Cardin, Emanuel Ungaro, and Marc Bohan of Christian Dior. A benefit for the crumbling Palace of Versailles it created history in the fashion industry. Their goal was to not only showcase fashion, but to also restore the legendary palace which was in need of a $60 million USD renovation that the French government simply couldn’t provide. 

Ava DuVernay To Direct ‘The Battle Of Versailles’ Movie For HBO Films

The story of the 1973 Palace of Versailles fashion show that put American designers and black models on the map is the subject of The Battle Of Versailles, an HBO Films movie co-written and directed by Selma helmer Ava DuVernay. 

It is based on the 2015 book The Battle Of Versailles: The Night American Fashion Stumbled Into The Spotlight And Made History by fashion journalist Robin Givhan.

The movie will chronicle the November 28, 1973 fashion show that took place at the Palace of Versailles. A fundraiser for the restoration of King Louis XIV’s palace, it pitted the top five French designers (Yves Saint Laurent, Hubert de Givenchy, Pierre Cardin, Emanuel Ungaro, and Marc Bohan of Christian Dior) against five then-unknown Americans (Oscar de la Renta, Bill Blass, Anne Klein, Halston, Stephen Burrows and Anne Klein, who brought along her then-assistant Donna Karan) in front of an audience of the world’s social elite. By the end of the night, American fashion would be born, racial barriers broken, and the industry would be left forever transformed.