Title: Fancy Party Gowns: The Story of Fashion Designer Ann Cole Lowe
Author: Deborah Blumenthal
Illustrator: Laura Freeman
Publisher/Date: little bee books, a division of Bonnier Publishing, c2017.
Ann thought about what she could do, not what she couldn’t change.
So she sat down and sewed the dresses herself. Then she stood up and ran the business.
Ann Cole Lowe was the designer of Jacqueline Bouvier’s wedding dress when she married future president John F. Kennedy. Primarily covering her role in that momentous event and her career but skimming over her personal life, some of her other designs can be seen in the end papers and cover of the book. Many appear timeless and could grace the award show invitees today. The focus remains squarely on Ann, with most of the illustrations only featuring her face. Although I don’t know what materials were used to make the illustrations, they have a layered quality that pulls readers into the drawing and makes it seem as if you’re standing next to her, watching her struggle and succeed. Pay attention to the scene where she is watching a television in a store front window, and you’ll see her impressively rendered reflection! The repeating refrain quoted above is inspiration for anyone struggling, and also showcases that while her lack of business sense had her floundering financially, Lowe never lost her talent, spirit, and drive to succeed. A forgotten piece of history has been brought to new life.
This review is posted in honor of Nonfiction Monday. Take a look at what everyone else is reading in nonfiction this week.