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by on January 21, 2011

All right everyone I hope you brought your cowl-neck sweaters, your drop-waist blouses, a culotte, a slouchy boot and a bad attitude. This week’s class will be on the grand dame of grandmothers, Dorothy Petrillo Zbornak Hollingsworth.

Character Study   Dorothy Zbornack

Key Pieces: In addition to the previous items, we’re talking sequins, a string of pearls down to the ground, more sequins, Chanel doorknockers, and the occasional kitten heel.

Character Study   Dorothy Zbornack

Character Study   Dorothy Zbornack

Character Study   Dorothy Zbornack

Character Study   Dorothy Zbornack

Character Study   Dorothy Zbornack

Designers to Wear:  Donna Karan, Chanel, Marc Jacobs, Alexander McQueen

Character Study   Dorothy Zbornack

Donna Karan PF 2011


Character Study   Dorothy Zbornack

Chanel HC SS2010

Character Study   Dorothy Zbornack

Marc Jacobs SS2011

Character Study   Dorothy Zbornack

Alexander McQueen SS2011

Photos: Style.com

Defining Fashion Moment: Where do I begin? I’m facing Sophie’s Choice right now, torn between two scenes. The first is from Season 7, Episode 19, “Journey to the Center of Attention.”

In a bar full of middle-aged horndogs itching to climb up Blanche’s dress (she’s not wearing any underwear…meanwhile, imagine your grandma saying that to a anyone and not being able to blame it on the Alzheimer’s) when Dorothy steals the spotlight by singing a heartfelt rendition of Irving Berlin‘s “What’ll I Do.”

All the while, she’s wearing  a black blazer with gold piping and epaulets, black pants tucked into a slouchy black boot and only one major accessory — her gold Chanel doorknockers.

Perfection. Simple, chic, but still playing on that fun masculine edge. Signature Dorothy.

The second is from The Golden Girls series finale; Season 7, Episode 26, “One Flew Out of the Cuckoo’s Nest, Part 2.” Dorothy marries Blanche’s cousin, Lucas —  played by Leslie Nielsen (say howyoudoin’ to Bea for me!) –  after a whirlwind trip of mutual hatred, deceit and finally love that only a sitcom and a Shakespearean play can deftly pull off. 

I mean, look at this dress:

Character Study   Dorothy Zbornack

Kate Middleton, take note. This is how you turn it out at your wedding.

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Contributed by Lester Brathwaite

I was center square from 1969 to 1978, during which I perfected the art of the zing as well as a crippling cocaine addiction. Bea Arthur was responsible for both. @LesFabian lester dot brathwaite at gmail

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