Jeff Joseph, Mounia et Marie-Luce Penchard
Jeff Joseph, Mounia et Marie-Luce Penchard

Hat tip: Afro Europe Blog

Mounia, the first black supermodel from France, has been honored by the French government and elevated to the ranks of Knight of the Order of Merit (Chevalier de l’Ordre de Mérite). She was awarded the honor in late November at a posh ceremony in Paris.

In the name of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Marie-Luce Penchard (current Minister of Overseas Territories) described the model as she who had pushed the greatest grand couturiers to “rupture with aesthetique codes in vigor” of the time in order to include black women in their vision of elegance, sophistication and fashion.

She was born Monique Orosemane in the French islands. Sensing that she was truly special, her grandmother gave her a unique name befitting someone whose special destiny would one day unfold on the catwalks of the world. Moving to Paris, she first came to the attention of the grand couturier Hubert de Givenchy as early as 1981. Not a full year would pass before Yvès Saint Laurent would fall under her charm.

Yves Saint Laurent cast the French black pearl in his collection created as homage to “Porgy & Bess”. Incidentally this too would her first fashion show but not her last. From there her career was on fire. She captured the cover of Vogue, which honored her with a rare 27 page fashion spread!

In her career, she walked the catwalk for the industries best including alongside of other beauties including Christian Dior, Chanel, Emanuel Ungaro, Gianni Versace, Calvin Klein, Giorgio Armani, Valentino, Hubert de Givenchy, etc. And of course, her face has been immortalized time after time again by the most legendary fashion photographers of the 20 th Century including Horst P. Horst, Helmut Newton, Irvin Penn, Richard Avedon, Guy Bourdin, etc.


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