Vintage Black Glamour

by Nichelle Gainer Nichelle Gainer

The story continues—with Vintage Black Glamour; Gentlemen's Quarters.Image of the Vintage Black Glamour book by Nichelle Gainer. Published by Rocket 88.

Bold and confident, iconic and inviting


The first Vintage Black Glamour book—available now—is filled with the stories and photographs of the women who epitomised black glamour. Now it's the turn of the men to show off their style, glitz and panache. Vintage Black Glamour; Gentlemen's Quarters will have the same lush silk cloth cover and sumptuously printed pages as VBG, and be just as desirable. It will be published in February, but to have your name printed in the Roll of Honour and to be sure of your copy, you can pre-order now.

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

Black History

Alongside profiles and photographs of world-renowned Black stars such as Duke Ellington, Sidney Poitier and Muhammed Ali, Vintage Black Glamour; Gentlemen's Quarters—like the first book—contains biographies and images of less-known but hugely influential artists. Gentlemen's Quarters includes pioneering photographer Charles 'Teenie' Harris, designer Stephen Burrows, dancer Archie Savage and many, many others; their stories — often neglected 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.

The Author

Nichelle, author of Vintage Black Glamour, was an Assistant Editor at GQ magazine and has contributed to many major magazines and websites, including InStyle, Essence and Glamour. She has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, BBC News, The Guardian and NPR.

Born and raised in New Jersey, Nichelle lives in Harlem, where she wrote Vintage Black Glamour: Gentlemen’s Quarters, the men’s edition of Vintage Black Glamour.

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

A book to buy and keep.


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.
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

Please 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