vintage black glamour

“Vintage Black Glamour” Books Highlight Timeless Elegance


Using her ” Vintage Black Glamour ” books, Nichelle Gainer showcases a stunning collection of images from an era when folks would wear evening gowns and tuxedo’s  just to the grocery store.

Ok, maybe no one took things to that extreme, but the “Vintage Black Glamour” books are definitely filled with photographs and stories of women who epitomize Black glamour. Nichelle’s follow up book, “Vintage Black Glamour: Gentlemen’s Quarters” is filled with stories and photographs of their male counterparts.

Seeing as I appreciate most things dapper, classy and elegant, I had to speak with Nichelle about her books. This is what she had to say:

Dorothy Dandridge

SB: What inspired you to create these books?

NG: I was doing research for a novel (that I still plan to finish) and found a lot of fascinating information and photos on legendary women like Lena Horne that I hadn’t come across before – and women who happened to be in my own family.

Two aunts on two different sides of my family who bookend the first book.

SB: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

NG: I don’t have a set amount of time for research, I just do what I have to do and can do before the deadline. Deadlines are really great for finalizing research (haha). 

Aretha Franklin

SB: What part of the book writing process is the most fun and which is the most challenging?

NG: The part of the book process that is most fun varies – but usually, it’s finishing it! The most challenging (for the Vintage Black Glamour books) is usually fitting in all of the information I want to get across.

The supremes – 1965

SB: What is one of the most interesting people or stories that your learned about while doing research for the books?

NG: It’s hard to pinpoint one because there are so many. That’s the thing about our history, there is never just “one” – there are a lot who have been left out of history books and documentaries over the years. They’re all interesting to me. 

J. Rosamond Johnson. Bob and Bob Cole

SB: What images were the most difficult to find?

NG: The challenge is usually in finding the most unique image that hasn’t already been seen everywhere.

Maya Angelou

It’s not about being hard to find a certain image of a certain person, just the most interesting. Believe me, a lot of these photos have been “hiding” in plain sight in archives forever.

Lola Falana – 1973

SB: Do you have any other books in the works?

NG: Yes! I am working on another Vintage Black Glamour book with many of the women we couldn’t get into the first edition for one reason or another. It will include Grace Jones, Chaka Khan and more.

nat king cole

I will go later in the eighties to include Whitney Houston. It’s going to have a different vibe from the first book.

SB: What advice do you have for aspiring authors?

NG: Write and finish what you are writing. Even if you don’t feel like it. Then do it again. 

Author, Nichelle Gainer

Pick up your copies here!


-Tony Oluwatoyin Lawson

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