Fancy Party Gowns: The Story of Fashion Designer Ann Cole Lowe
Written by: Deborah Blumenthal
Illustrated by: Laura Freeman
Publisher: Little Bee Books
Why I Love It:
Reading this picture book biography brought back nice memories for me. In elementary school, I loved to read fashion magazines and sketch fashion designs in notebooks. With rich and vibrant illustrations, FANCY PARTY GOWNS tells the story of Anne Cole Lowe (1898 – 1981), a little-known trailblazer -- the first African American woman designer of couture clothing. Beautiful language describes the heartfelt experiences of a little girl who learned to sew from her mother and grandmother. After her mother died, Ann took over the business, pushing forward with her goals despite obstacles and discrimination. My favorite scene: When Ann delivered the dresses for Jacqueline Bouvier’s wedding to John F. Kennedy, she was told she would have to come through the back entrance. Ann said “if she had to enter through the back door, the bride and bridesmaids wouldn’t be wearing her dresses for the wedding.” Ann ended up coming in through the front door. My kind of heroine!