Thursday, February 16, 2017

Fancy Party Gowns

Fancy Party Gowns: The Story of Fashion Designer Ann Cole Lowe
By Deborah Blumenthal
Illustrated by Laura Freeman
Little Bee Books, 2017. Biography.

If you've never heard of Ann Cole Lowe, don't feel bad - most people haven't. In fact, even during her lifetime she was considered "society's best known secret" though she was the first African American woman to become a couture fashion designer, owned her own salon in Manhattan, and designed the dress for Jacqueline Bouvier's wedding to John F. Kennedy. But she loved making dresses, not to get rich or famous, but to prove she could.

Just in time for Black History Month, this picture book biography tells the story of one of fashion's most significant and forgotten women. The illustrations are bright, vibrant, and very pink (as good fashion books should be) with good representations of Ann Cole Lowe's famous designs. This book is enjoyable for any number of reasons, but especially for the recurring theme that pushes Ann through adversity "Ann thought about what she could do, not what she couldn't change."

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