Sepia, Nov. 1959 — Dorothea Towles — Towles was the first successful African American fashion model in Paris. In 1949 she joined her sister in Paris and decided to try out for some modeling assignments. Christian Dior hired her on the spot. She also designed her own gowns. In 1954 she returned to the US and began a tour of black colleges, showcasing her couture line. Her fashion shows served as fundraisers for Alpha Kappa Alpha, a sorority for black women. She died in 2006 at the age of 84.