Monday, May 8, 2017

Review: Fancy Party Gowns: the Story of Fashion Designer Ann Cole Lowe, by Deborah Blumenthal and Laura Freeman


I had never heard of Ann Cole Lewis before reading this book, which was kind of the point. Despite creating such iconic dresses as Jackie Kennedy's wedding gown, she remained an unknown figure most of her life, struggling financially: because she was African American. 

I am not terribly interested in fashion myself - my idea of getting fancy is wearing black jeans instead of regular blue denim. I am, however, interested in people doing what brings them joy, and in stories of people not giving up despite huge setbacks. This story brings both of those things in spades - and pretty dresses to boot! I may not like to wear dresses often, but I don't mind looking at pretty ones, and Lewis created some masterpieces.

Check out this beautiful debutante gown:

and head over to Zena Martin's blog, while you are at it, for a great deal more information about Lowe AND a yummy brownie recipe. Because everything is made better with a brownie recipe.

Blumenthal's book is just the right amount of information for a class read-aloud, however, and Freeman's illustrations make you want to find a party you can wear one of those dresses to. Struggles and injustices are not glossed over at all, but the prevailing theme is of perseverance and enjoying what you do. An excellent addition to any library.

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