China Machado, a legendary supermodel and fashion editor who was one of the first women to break high fashion’s color barrier, has died at 86. A Facebook page associated with Machado’s fashion line announced on Dec. 18 that she had died. The New York Times, citing Machado’s family, says she died of a heart attack.
Machado, who was of Chinese and Portuguese descent, was born in Shanghai.
She began her career in the fashion industry after moving to Paris in 1954, where she walked her first runway show for Givenchy. In 1959, she broke barriers when she became the first non-white model to appear on the cover of a major fashion magazine, according to Harper’s Bazaar.
New York Magazine interviewed her in 2011, and Machado said she was the highest-paid freelance runway model in Europe back in her prime.