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Alton Mason makes history as first black male model to walk in Chanel show in 109 years

‘To be the first black male model to walk a Chanel show… I’m still in disbelief’

Sabrina Barr
Friday 07 December 2018 17:59 GMT
Alton Mason becomes first black male model to star in Chanel runway show

On Tuesday 4 December, Alton Mason became the first black male model to take part in a Chanel runway show in the brand's 109-year history.

He was among models taking part in an ancient Egyptian-inspired spectacle for the French fashion house's Métiers d'Art show.

While Pharrell Williams was also participating in the show and has modelled for Chanel before, up until now a black male professional model hasn't been featured on the Chanel runway.

The significance of the moment was not lost on Mason, who shared his gratitude on social media.

“Blessed to walk for @chanelofficial at the @metmuseum,” he wrote on Instagram.

“This is a moment I’ll never forget. Being able to see all the art inside the museum and work with this amazing team felt unreal.

“To be the first black male model to walk a Chanel show… WHAT!? I’m still in disbelief.”

He also thanked a variety of individuals, including Karl Lagerfeld, who had “manifested this moment”, ending his Instagram caption with the statement: “We made history.”

IMG Models, the modelling agency that represents Mason, also marked the momentous occasion on Instagram.

"History: MADE. @AltonMason makes #history as the first-ever African American male model to walk #Chanel," the agency wrote.

Many people have been congratulating Mason on the magnitude of the event.

Others have expressed their disappointment in the fact that it took this long for a black male model to be included in a runway show for the fashion house.

"It's sad that it took so long for them to 'allow' a black male model to walk their runway. But I'm very happy that it has happened! Well done!" one person wrote on Instagram.

"Congrats! This was well overdue!" someone else commented.

Models walks the runway during the Chanel Métiers d'Art 2018/19 show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on 4 December 2018 (Getty Images)

The Métiers d'Art show is an annual event held by Chanel to honour the craftsmanship of the artisans that it has collaborated with.

This year's show, which was presented by Chanel creative director Lagerfeld, was held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

This is only the second time that the Metropolitan Museum of Art has played host to a fashion catwalk, the first being in 1982 when Valentino used the venue to unveil its autumn and winter collection.

Williams modelled a pair of gold trousers, a gold knitted long-sleeved top and an ornate neckpiece on the runway.

Pharrell Williams walks the runway during the Chanel Métiers d'Art 2018/19 show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on 4 December 2018 (Getty Images)

His first appearance on the Chanel catwalk took place during its 2016 Métiers d’Art show at the Ritz hotel in Paris.

Chanel recently announced that it would be banning all fur and exotic animal skins from its collections.

Speaking to WWD, Chanel's president of fashion Bruno Pavlovsky explained that the decision was primarily made for practical, rather than ethical, reasons.

"It is our experience that it is becoming increasingly difficult to source exotic skins," he said.

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