The legacy of Stephen Burrows is hard to compete with. Burrows, an alumnus of the Fashion Institute of Technology and a native of New Jersey, is one of the first African American fashion designers to achieve international success and acclaim. He won three Coty awards in his career and represented the USA in a 1973 showing at Versailles alongside French courtiers.
Burrows opened his first boutique in New York in 1970. Stephen Burrow’s World was a storefront within Henri Bendel’s department store and its success was immediate. From Cher to Diana Ross, everyone wanted to be seen in a Burrows creation. Burrows captured the attitude of an assertive, sensual woman in his designs whether she was on the floor at Studio 54 or on 5th Avenue on her way to a high powered career. His use of color blocking with fluid fabrics emphasized his expert construction. His bold colors somehow still come across as fluid and chic and his use of lettuce edging adds a lightweight volume to his blouses and suits.
Burrows’ work was celebrated in 2013 at the Museum of the CIty of New York in an exhibit entitled Stephen Burrows: When Fashion Danced. The opening was attended by longtime supporters like Iman, Pat Cleveland, Diane Von Furstenburg, and Anna Sui.