Not only was Louis Vuitton the collection to close Paris fashion week, but the brand also made history, sending a black model down the runway to open the show. On Wednesday, for the first time in the fashion house’s legendary 163-year-history, Janaye Furman kicked-off Louis Vuitton’s spring 2018 collection as the first black model to open the show.
“What a blessing!!,” Furman wrote in an Instagram post. “Wow! This is such an incredible and unbelievable moment! Not only for my first opening show to be Louis Vuitton but to make history as the first African American girl to open LV?!! Thank you God and everyone for all of the amazing support! I’m so glad more women of color are rocking the runways. It’s so important that we stand up for ourselves and make a difference in this world.”
The Southern California drama student-turned-model was first discovered during a class performance last year and made her runway debut walking for Proenza Schouler’s fall 2017 show. She was then tapped for Louis Vuitton’s fall 2017 show and has become a familiar face in the brand’s editorials and campaigns.
Louis Vuitton’s move to open the show with a black model is reflective of the fashion industry’s push to bring more diversity—in race, size, and gender identity—to its runways. Earlier this month, Louis Vuitton joined other luxury fashion houses in pledging to abandon size-zero models.