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by on March 9, 2011

She was working in a bridal shop in Flushing, Queens. Next thing you know her boyfriend kicks her to the curb. It’s one of those crushing scenes. Today’s class (in case you need a refresher; class has been out of session for a while and Gwyneth Paltrow was unable to sub) is dedicated to Francine Joy Fine Sheffield. Though she might be better known as The Nanny, Fran Fine never looked domestic.

Character Study    Fran Fine

Key Pieces: Mini skirts, bold prints, leopard anything, skirtsuits, body-conscious dresses, tights, the occasional statement evening gown for when Mr. Sheffield lets her out of the house and, of course, tons and tons of hairspray.

Character Study    Fran Fine

Character Study    Fran Fine

Character Study    Fran Fine

Character Study    Fran Fine

Character Study    Fran Fine

Character Study    Fran Fine

Character Study    Fran Fine

Designers to Wear: Vivienne Westwood, Gucci, Christopher Kane, Betsey Johnson

Character Study    Fran Fine

Vivienne Westwood Red Label AW 2011

Character Study    Fran Fine

Gucci AW 2011

Character Study    Fran Fine

Christopher Kane SS 2010

Character Study    Fran Fine

Betsey Johnson AW 2011

Defining Fashion Moment: Whenever Mr. Sheffield had any sort of high-brow fête, Fran would make her entrance atop the staircase to the studio audience’s whoops and hollars. Then she would precede to mess up and inevitably repair whatever situation her employer was involved in.

Character Study    Fran Fine

Fran Drescher’s endlessly optimistic nanny was the continuation of a long legacy of whacky ladies who were no strangers to glamour. A legacy that started in the 1930s with screwball heroines like Carole Lombard, Katharine Hepburn and Irene Dunne and which continued for decades more with Lucille Ball.

That The Nanny is still in re-runs is a testament to Fran’s (Drescher and Fine’s) own legacy. Now if we only had more time I could delve into the genius wardrobes of Ms. Fine’s relations: Yetta and Sylvia Fine.

Character Study    Fran Fine

I can see the apple doesn’t fall far from the sequined tree. And for extra credit, study up on Should Be on the Nanny.

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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