We always admire a trail blazer, a rule breaker, a history maker, and especially a woman who does it all with a tangible and timeless style. Enter Diahann Carroll.


Diahann Carroll in ebony magazine.jpg

words by DIANDRA BARSALOU MITCHELL • Shop The Story/fashion

The Icons series is a weekly shop-the-look feature highlighting iconic women whose style captures a certain sensibility and sets them apart from the status quo, no matter the era, socio-political climate, or popular culture of their time, or ours. Muses— if you will— whose timeless aesthetic causes inspiration season after season.

Diahann Carroll

We always admire a trail blazer, a rule breaker, a history maker, and especially a woman who does it all with a tangible and timeless style. Enter Diahann Carroll, who has been on our inspiration list for some time, may she rest in peace. Born in the Bronx and raised in Harlem, Carroll recalls her parents’ support in cultivating creativity, enrolling her in dance, singing, and modeling classes. At 15, she was modeling for Ebony Magazine, and in 1962, Carroll won a Tony Award for best actress, a first for an African American woman, for her role in the Broadway musical No Strings. Her 1968 debut in Julia, was the first series on American television to star an African American woman in her own series, portraying a non-stereotypical role (read, a non-domestic role), which at that time was a milestone both in her career and the industry. 

Perhaps best known for her fashionable role on Dynasty as Dominique Devereaux, Carroll’s personal sense of style brought her renegade attitude to life with a sophisticated and inherently elevated twist. We celebrate Diahann’s attitude and fearlessness to challenge systemic rules and regulations using her talent, style and incredible sense of direction. From wearing bright makeup with blue and purple eyeshadow at a time when the beauty industry declared that women of color should not, to stepping out with an effortless confidence in a three piece short suit or a strapless evening dress, Diahann Carroll is a true icon in the most multifaceted sense of the word.

Carroll was also a founding member of the Celebrity Action Council, a volunteer group of celebrity women who served the women’s outreach of the Los Angeles Mission, and after surviving breast cancer, she became an advocate and inspirational speaker.


You have to keep your sanity as well as know how to distance yourself from it while still holding onto the reins tightly. That is a very difficult thing to do, but I’m learning


  1. The look: sartorial step out

Diahann Carroll Look 3.jpg

Striped short suit, menswear inspired vest, white blouse, little black clutch, crochet beanie.


I had a mom and a pop who kept telling me that I was wonderful at a very early age. So when someone said to me, ‘Oh, you’re stuck up. Who do you think you are?’ I’d say, ‘I know who I am, and I don’t mind being stuck up.’


2. The look: weekend elegance

JVB Icons Diahann Carroll

Embellished or off-the-shoulder blouse, kick flare trousers, menswear inspired scarf and hat.


I am a breast cancer survivor. I was intrigued to learn how many people prefer to talk to someone if they are familiar with their face, like an actor or a politician. So, I began traveling around the country and doing speeches.


3. The look: EVENING Diamante


Strapless bustier dress, diamond accessories, sparkly clutch, red lips, red manicure.


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