FASHION / February 05, 2019
Fran Fine, A Forever Fashion Icon
“Hello, I’m Fran Fine.”
Arriving at the Sheffields’ door on the Upper East Side of Manhattan to sell cosmetics, the now-legendary character Fran Fine appears in a leopard-accented suit just in time to be considered the family’s caretaker. As The Nanny’s unforgettable theme song tells us, “she had style, she had flair, she was there!” and she’s soon hired. The television show debuted 25 years ago this week, on November 3, 1993, and is as beloved as ever.
The Nanny was the brainchild of icon Fran Drescher and her then-husband, Peter Marc Jacobson. After briefly starring in a canceled sitcom called Princesses, the actress met a CBS executive on a plane and pitched herself not as the wacky sidekick—the roles she had been getting to that point—but as the main attraction. Her pitch meeting led to a script, which led to a pilot.
On the set of Princesses, Drescher met stylist Brenda Cooper, who she eventually brought on to The Nanny. Cooper became responsible for the new show’s fashion legacy. Viewers began to tune in as much for Fine’s kooky antics as they did for Cooper’s costume designs, with over 13 million homes watching by 1994.
From leopard to sequins to polka dots to plaid, there was no style risk Fine didn’t take with the help of vintage pieces, items lent by designers, and off-the-rack purchases often made by Cooper at Neiman Marcus: Nicole Miller, Isaac Mizrahi, Moschino Cheap & Chic, Lanvin, Todd Oldham (who made an appearance as Fine’s Cousin Toddy on Season 3’s episode “Fashion Show” in 1996), and countless others. The outfits were always altered to be a little more “Fran”: a little shorter, a little more fitted, a little more flair. Cooper went on to win an Emmy for her work in 1995, with two additional nominations in 1996 and 1997.