A GoFundMe page has been set up for legendary ’70s supermodel Pat Cleveland, 68, to pay for her care following a colon cancer diagnosis. She apparently became ill last month after walking the Tommy Hilfiger show in Paris, and was forced to have an emergency surgery when doctors found a tumor blocking her colon. According to her husband, Paul Van Ravenstein, Pat doesn’t have medical insurance, and her Medicare won’t cover treatment outside of the US. Pat is expected to leave the hospital April 8th
So far, the GoFundMe has raised $94,ooo of its $150,000 goal with donations coming in from fashion folks like Kimora Lee Simmons, Anna Sui, and Zac Posen.
You can donate here to help.
Iconic Model Pat Cleveland Diagnosed with Colon Cancer Days After Walking in Paris Fashion Week https://t.co/Vkmz5Kbnrf
— People (@people) April 2, 2019
Cleveland’s career as a model began in 1966 when she was on a subway platform with a friend en route to class and was noticed by the assistant to Carrie Donovan, fashion editor at Vogue. Donovan, impressed by Cleveland’s fashionable clothing, invited her to tour the Vogue offices and the magazine subsequently published a feature on her as an up-and-coming young designer. The article led to her being approached by Ebony which asked Cleveland if she would perform as model for its Fashion Fair national runway tour. Cleveland agreed and decided she would place her aspirations to be a designer on hold and try her luck as a fashion model.
Following her tour with Ebony, in which she claimed to experience acts of violent racism in the Southern United States, Cleveland caught the attention of designers such as Jacques Tiffeau and Stephen Burrows. At age 18, she was signed to Wilhelmina Modelsafter designer Oleg Cassini initially recommended her to Eileen Ford. Cleveland has stated that Ford had rejected her based on her race.
Soon she was meeting and working with many of the fashion industry’s top enterprising people of the era, including Diana Vreeland and being photographed by Irving Penn, Steven Meisel, Richard Avedon, Christopher Makos, and Andy Warhol and briefly became a muse to Salvador Dalí. She made her first appearance as a fashion model in American Vogue in June 1970, photographed by Berry Berenson and the same year, appeared in the very first issue of Essence magazine. Despite her early success, Cleveland grew disillusioned with America and what she perceived to be its racist attitudes towards black models She relocated to Paris by suggestion of fashion illustrator Antonio Lopez in 1971 and soon became a house model for Karl Lagerfeld, who was the main designer at Chloé. Cleveland vowed not to return to the United States until a black model appeared on the American cover of Vogue. During the 1970s, she modeled for designers such as Valentino, Oscar de la Renta, Yves Saint Laurent, Thierry Mugler, Diane von Furstenberg and Christian Dior. With Karen Bjornson, Anjelica Huston, Alva Chinn, and Pat Ast, among others, she became one of Halston‘s favoured troupe of models, nicknamed the Halstonettes.
The pinnacle of her success in Europe was her participation in the November 28, 1973 Battle of Versailles Fashion Show; a gala event initially conceived as a publicity stunt and fundraiser held at Théâtre Gabriel for the then-dilapidated Palace of Versailles. The gala, which pitted five French designers: Yves Saint Laurent, Hubert de Givenchy, Pierre Cardin, Emanuel Ungaro and Christian Dior’s Marc Bohan, against five American designers: Bill Blass, Oscar de la Renta, Anne Klein, Halston and Stephen Burrows in a fashion showdown. The event became an international fashion extravaganza with style writers and society columnists, wealthy socialites, royalty, tycoons and politicians in attendance. Cleveland was one of 36 models to walk the runway for the event. Of the 36 models, ten were black, an unprecedented number for the era.The gala later was chronicled in the 2015 Pulitzer Prize winning The Battle of Versailles: The Night American Fashion Stumbled into the Spotlight and Made History by Robin Givhan.
After Beverly Johnson became the first black model to appear on the cover of American Vogue in August 1974, Cleveland returned to the United States and continued her modeling career. From the early to late 1970s, she appeared on the covers of: Vanity Fair, Interview, Essence, Harper’s, Cosmopolitan, Women’s Wear Daily, L’Officiel, The Sunday Times Magazine, GQ, Vogue Paris, W, and Elle.
During the mid to late 1970s, she became a fixture at New York City’s exclusive discothèque Studio 54, often in the company of friends Halston, Jerry Hall, Grace Jones, Andy Warhol and Sterling St. Jacques.