HBO debuts a look at “Donyale Luna: Supermodel,” debuting on Wednesday, September 13. Directed by Nailah Jefferson, this documentary delves into the trailblazing life of Donyale Luna, the first Black model to land on the covers of Harper’s Bazaar US in 1965 and Vogue UK in 1966.
Donyale Luna: Supermodel Documentary Trailer
In a fashion world that seldom deviated from its Eurocentric beauty standards, Luna was a revolution. Her story tells the story of a shift in the fashion industry, questioning established norms and forcing the world to broaden its lens of beauty. Despite her influence, Donyale is not well known today, and this film explores why.
Donyale Luna Photos
Step back into the electric 60s and 70s. Luna moved in an atmosphere that could only be described as magnetic. Her work with iconic photographer Richard Avedon and artistic legend Andy Warhol set the tone for her career.
Luna’s journey led her to Europe, a continent that seemed more accepting of her groundbreaking aesthetics. She found love and an artistic partnership in Italy, marrying photographer Luigi Cazzaniga, which is also explored. In London, she collaborated with Salvador Dali and eventually found her true calling in avant-garde theater and film in Italy before her early death at 33.
A notable lineup of commentators is included in the documentary. Her daughter, Dream Cazzaniga, brings personal insight, reading selections from Luna’s journals. Industry veterans like Beverly Johnson and Pat Cleveland comment on her professional legacy, while Vogue global editor-at-large Hamish Bowles and fashion designers Zandra Rhodes and Aurora James provide critical context.
Luna’s life is framed as not just a series of photos or fashion moments but as a crucial point in the broader historical context of race and representation in fashion. Through her, doors were opened. This documentary ensures the world sees her legacy at large.