Costume designer Brenda Cooper is head down in her upcoming book, “The Silhouette Solution” out this December, a fashion book with a foreword by Fran Drescher. But it’s far from their first project together. Decades ago, it was Cooper who crafted the timeless looks for Drescher on the CBS comedy, “The Nanny” when it began airing in 1993.
The show is now seeing a resurgence thanks in part to its streaming debut on HBO Max, which means a renewed interest in Nanny Fine’s wardrobe.
Cooper, who worked on the first four seasons, says she wanted to turn Drescher into a walking work of art with her outfits. The key for her was to create something that “had to be fun, witty, sassy and elegant. It was a sassy elegance that was important to me, and pushing that to the edge without tipping it.”
She also kept in mind that those outfits had to have a formality to them because Fran Fine was working in a household. Cooper would typically have to pull together 50 outfits for the cast per episode; of those, six would be for Drescher.
The key to Drescher’s wardrobe for the show was about knowing the right pieces. “From the beginning, that became a turtleneck, the miniskirt, opaque tights and a pair of high heels,” Cooper reveals.
Heavily influenced by bygone eras, whenever possible, Cooper wove in styles from the ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s, as well.
“What Fran loved was that I could use wit and humor because I’m British to elevate the comedy,” Cooper says.
Case in point: On one occasion she had accidentally dressed actress Renée Taylor, who played Fran’s mother, to match the floor, and it was kept in because “it was considered hilarious.”
Here, Cooper breaks down her 10 favorite outfits from “The Nanny.”