Toppa Top 10: Top 10 Caribbean Style Icons

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September 13, 2011

10. Lola Falana/Celia Cruz

Although their contributions to style are somewhat overlooked today, these two Cuban ladies blazed trails for dark-skinned women in the 1960s and ’70s. Born in New Jersey to a Cuban father and African-American mother, and discovered by Sammy Davis, dancer/actress Lola Fulana was the first Black woman to model for a line of cosmetics (Tigress by Fabergรฉ) that was not targeted solely at Blacks, one of the first Black women to pose for Playboy and, in the late ’70s, one of the biggest draws in Vegas. The Queen of Salsa, Cruz was just as renowned for her bold wigs and hairpieces–which were just as unpredictable in terms of color, cut and texture as Rihanna’s are now–though she would embrace her African roots, too, rocking an Afro and cornrows, in the ’70s. Always larger than life but never cartoonish, there was nothing subtle about her style.