Fictionally Fabulous

The Characters Who Created the Looks We Love


By Anne Keenan Higgins

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Takes a one-of-a-kind, utterly irresistible tour of fashion history through our favorite style icons of film and television.

Fictionally Fabulous is a full-color illustrated guide to dozens of beloved characters who changed the face of fashion: from the flapper era embodied by Louise Brooks to polka dot-studded housewife Lucy Ricardo, working-girl chic Mary Richards, tartan-skirted Cher Horowitz in Clueless, the Scandalous Olivia Pope, and all our favorite style stars in between. Each fashion hero is showcased in gorgeously whimsical style by Higgins, who offers stunning views of their most memorable moments, inspiration boards, and profiles describing each character’s signature style and trend-setting influence.



HAVE YOU EVER STARTED WATCHING A FILM OR TELEVIsion show, and before you know it, you have become totally transfixed by what the characters are wearing instead of what they are saying? It happens to me all the time. I'll have to go back and rewind for the story, but that also gives me another opportunity to see that beautiful black satin gown or the intricate beading on an evening clutch. Over the years, there have been ensembles that literally take my breath away—Audrey Hepburn as Jo Stockton from Funny Face, magically floating down the steps of the Louvre in a red strapless gown holding a chiffon scarf high up over her head, or Sarah Jessica Parker as Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City, finally being told by Mr. Big that "she's the one" in her ethereal vintage mint-green tulle ballerina dress.

In illustrating and writing this book, I wanted to convey the importance of a costume designer's role and to acknowledge the impact they have had on the fashion trends that women have followed for the past one hundred years. Then, of course, there are the characters themselves, from Holly Golightly's carefree elegance to Laura Petrie's endearing perkiness and Annie Hall's naïve charm. Those characters became iconic when the actresses themselves stepped into their little black dresses, bell-bottom pants, or sky-high stilettos. Fictionally Fabulous is a tribute to the designers, the characters, and the actresses who for the past century have captivated us with their originality, innovation, and style.


OPEN PANDORA'S BOX AND YOU'LL FIND THE FREE-SPIRITED Lulu happily dancing in a white breezy chiffon dress with long, flowing sleeves. Her legendary black bob, perfect bangs, and beguiling smile captivates everyone she meets. Over the course of the story, Lulu goes from a V-neck white satin wedding dress to a dramatic long-sleeve black high-neck silk dress with veil as she stands trial for murder. While on the run, she wears a sexy, sheer, low-cut lace tank dress adorned with a small brooch at the hip. Trouble hits yet again and only Lulu can pull off a men's black-and-white striped T-shirt with sailor pants. And even when Lulu has hit rock bottom and is about to meet her demise, her style prevails as she wears a silk Peter Pan collared tied blouse accented with small studs on the cuffs and waist.

Pandora's Box, 1929

Louise Brooks as Lulu

Costume Designers: Jean Patou
and Gottlieb Hesch

Helen Faraday

AS A DEVOTED WIFE AND MOTHER FORCED BACK INTO performing, Helen Faraday (aka Helen Jones) emerges from a gorilla suit and dons a wicked platinum-blonde curly wig with sparkly arrows sticking every which way. Singing the infamous song, "Hot Voodoo," she immediately catches the eye of millionaire Nick Townsend. On and off the stage, Helen dazzles with fur-trimmed dresses and coats, a tailored riding jacket topped off with a derby hat, and gowns adorned with shimmering beading. The most iconic and memorable ensemble is the androgynous white tuxedo accented with rhinestones and matching top hat. Townsend tells her "a little of you is worth a lifetime with any other woman." That statement couldn't be truer when it comes to the sultry style of Blonde Venus.

Blonde Venus, 1932

Marlene Dietrich as Helen Faraday

Costume Designer: Travis Banton

Tracy Lord

AS PRIVILEGED SOCIALITE TRACY LORD PREPARES FOR her second wedding, she's seen at turns wearing perfectly tailored pantsuits, an art deco gold sequin beaded silk gown with fitted buttoned cuffs, and an over-the-top gingham three-tiered skirt. Costume designer Adrian successfully portrayed her image as a Greek goddess, untouchable in a belted long swimming gown covering a sleek and simple striped one-piece swimsuit. "Red," as she's referred to by her first husband, continues to dazzle in a flowing organza-layered, collared wedding gown accented with an obi-styled belt and topped off with an oversize wide-brim hat featuring long ribbons. With three men infatuated with her independence, smarts, and beauty, the stylish Miss Lord finally gets the man she wants and a dreaded full-page spread in the gossip magazine, Spy, for all the world to see.

The Philadelphia Story, 1940

Katharine Hepburn as Tracy Lord

Costume Designer: Adrian

Vivian Rutledge

IN THIS COMPLEX MYSTERY THRILLER, HEIRESS VIVIAN Rutledge has the confidence and smoldering style that allows her to wrap any man around her finger. In her first encounter with Detective Marlowe, who's been hired to get her little sister out of a jam, she's wearing a buttoned, brushed velvet coat, sweater, trousers, and loafers. From there, the sparks fly between the two and so do her ensembles, from a silk charmeuse robe as she strides down the hallway of her father's mansion to a lamé evening jacket when she meets Marlowe again for some sexy banter at a nightclub. But the most memorable outfit is Vivian's black-and-white houndstooth wool suit, worn with a crew neck and a black beret. Even with all the thugs, gamblers, and blackmailers in Vivian's complicated life, she eventually escapes trouble all the while maintaining her effortless glamour.

The Big Sleep, 1946

Lauren Bacall as Vivian Rutledge

Costume Designer: Leah Rhodes




On Sale
Apr 4, 2017
Page Count
128 pages
Running Press

Anne Keenan Higgins

About the Author

Anne Keenan Higgins began her career as an art director for advertising agencies in Detroit. Starting her own illustration business, Anne developed a signature whimsical style and began licensing her artwork to the greeting card, giftware, and publishing industries. Her first two books as both author and illustrator, Fictionally Fabulous and Ladies Who Drink, were published in 2017. Anne resides near Detroit, Michigan.

Learn more about this author