Fancy Party Gowns: The Story of Fashion Designer Ann Cole Lowe

A beautiful picture book about Ann Cole Lowe, a little-known African-American fashion designer who battled personal and social adversity in order to pursue her passion of making beautiful gowns and went on to become one of society’s top designers. Having made dresses for Jackie Kennedy and Olivia de Havilland, Lowe became “society’s best kept secret.” This beautiful picture book shines the spotlight on a little-known visionary who persevered in times of hardship, always doing what she was passionate about: making elegant gowns for the women who loved to wear them. Source:



About The Author

Deborah Blumenthal is an award-winning journalist and nutritionist who now divides her time between writing children’s books and adult novels. She has been a regular contributor to The New York Times (including four years as the Sunday New York Times Magazine beauty columnist), and a home design columnist for Long Island Newsday. Her health, fitness, beauty, travel, and feature stories have appeared widely in many other newspapers and national magazines including New York’s Daily NewsThe Washington PostThe Los Angeles TimesBazaarCosmopolitanWoman’s DayFamily CircleSelf, and Vogue.


Read Aloud Tips:

•Introduce the book, author and illustrations.

•Print off pictures of some of the women in their Lowe dresses and have students note some specifics of the gowns, like their color, texture, and shape. Discuss the importance of the women who received dress from Cole Lowe.

•Have students discuss some of the reasons it may have been hard for Lowe to be successful in her career.

•Using the resources in the back of the book provide a context for fashion and black women icons of that time.

“The endpapers featuring pictures of Lowe’s runway-perfect gowns and fabric swatches in the page design will delight young fashionistas, while the vignette of Ann in a classroom sitting by herself against a solid white background speaks volumes.” Kirkus Reviews

One thought on “Fancy Party Gowns: The Story of Fashion Designer Ann Cole Lowe

  • December 4, 2019 at 9:40 pm

    The information sheets are purposeful and worthy, as they pertain to building students scope of reading knowledge.


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