Vintage Black Glamour

by Nichelle Gainer Nichelle Gainer

The first print run of the Vintage Black Glamour book has now sold out. However a second, hardback edition of the book is available to order here. Don't miss out!Image of the Vintage Black Glamour book by Nichelle Gainer. Published by Rocket 88.


A book to buy and keep
O, Oprah Magazine

The response to the first edition of Vintage Black Glamour has been so overwhelming that we are printing a second edition. It will have exactly the same content that made it one of Oprah.com's top ten books to buy & keep in 2014. This edition will come in a traditional hardcover package rather than the silk cloth finish of the first printing. The new books will be ready for delivery during Black History Month of 2015–to be sure of your copy order now by clicking here.

Image of the Vintage Black Glamour book by Nichelle Gainer. Published by Rocket 88. order

Black History

Alongside profiles and photographs of world-renowned Black stars such as Josephine Baker, Dorothy Dandridge and Diana Ross are biographies and images of less-known but hugely influential artists including the author’s aunt, opera singer Margaret Tynes, Cotton Club star Margot Webb, pioneering model Ophelia De Vore and many, many more. Their stories — usually ignored in mainstream histories of their profession — are revealed in this groundbreaking book.

Image of the Vintage Black Glamour book by Nichelle Gainer. Published by Rocket 88. order

The Author

Nichelle Gainer was born and raised in New Jersey and lives in New York. She used to blog about beauty, fashion and lifestyle at 55 Secret Street and may get back to that soon – but she is definitely back at work writing fiction and scripts for film and television.

In her former life, Nichelle was an Assistant Editor at GQ magazine and wrote for magazines and websites including InStyle, Essence and Glamour. She has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, BBC News, NPR, The Guardian and O, The Oprah Magazine.Nichelle Gainer

The book demonstrates the complex ways celebrities construct themselves for the camera and, ultimately, for the public they want to attract. It resonates with stunning images… But it is the stories behind these photographs — provided by Ms. Gainer in concise biographies and sharp observations — that remind us of the urgency of this self-construction for these women.

New York Times

Bold and confident, iconic and inviting. Do yourself a favour… accept the invitation.

Richard Torres

Image of the Vintage Black Glamour book by Nichelle Gainer. Published by Rocket 88.
Nichelle Gainer’s gorgeous visual feast is my daily meditation on the dignity, elegance and uncommon allure of African American beauty. Vintage Black Glamour is a balm for the soul.

A'Lelia BundlesA’Lelia Bundles

Image of the Vintage Black Glamour book by Nichelle Gainer. Published by Rocket 88.

The Book

  • Premium hardcover book
  • Cover boards printed with design and foil detailing
  • Interior printed on heavyweight art paper
  • Over 200 pages and over 150 stunning black and white and colour photographs — including many rare and unseen archive images
  • Delivered direct to your door — only available from Rocket 88 and in selected independent bookstores
Image of the Vintage Black Glamour book by Nichelle Gainer. Published by Rocket 88. order
Equal parts black entertainment history and mesmerizing eye-candy, Vintage Black Glamour reminds us that long before Beyoncé, there were black women who succeeded in conquering the entertainment world with their talent, beauty, style and fashion sense. Learning about these women is the reason to pick this book up. Letting go of all that fierceness is the reason you will not want to put it down!

Noliwe RooksNoliwe Rooks
Associate Professor, Cornell University and author, Ladies Pages: African American Women’s Magazines and the Culture that Made Them

Divas, bombshells and ingenues return to the limelight in these enthralling photographs of African American icons and other notable figures.

O, Oprah Magazine


Visually Stunning

Using rarely accessed photographic archives and private collections, Nichelle has unearthed a revealing treasure trove of memorable and iconic images. The book presents historic photographs of famous actors, dancers, writers and entertainers who worked in the 20th-century entertainment business, but who rarely appeared in the same publications as their white counterparts. With its stunning photographs and insightful biographies, this book is a hugely important addition to Black history archives.

Dating as far back as the early 1900s, the photos on Vintage Black Glamour — some regal, some playful, some hip — all pay homage to timeless Black beauty.

The RootThe Root

orderPlease note that the details and images on this page may change prior to publication.
A Century of Black Glamour In This Fine 'Vintage' Vintage Black Glamour uses elegance as a tool for social commentary: By focusing the personal and professional accomplishments of her subjects, and providing plenty of context, Gainer has turned what could have easily been a bourgeois manifesto into a meaningful project.


Beyond Jean Harlow: Rarely Seen Photos of Glamorous Black Women

The Cut

Hefty and handsome, full of idiosyncratic and unseen shots

The Guardian

Vintage Black Glamour' assures a spot in history for early black celebrity

Washington Post